Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS)
Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention Services
Since the development of CRIS' Help Me Grow (Ohio's Early Intervention) program, the staff at CRIS became aware of the challenges that immigrant and refugee families were having in regards to parenting. Staff frequently tried to refer these parents to supportive services in the community; however, they could not find anywhere appropriate to refer them to. In 2003, CRIS received a grant from the Ohio Children's Trust Fund to provide child abuse prevention services to immigrant and refugee families. While those funds greatly assisted them in providing services to families, the funding arrangement did not allow CRIS to serve families with existing cases with Franklin County Children's Services (FCCS). This prompted CRIS to apply for a grant with FCCS, but their proposal was initially not accepted. Yet, that initial outreach effort was rewarded with a call from a FCCS representative. After some discussion and meetings, CRIS worked out an arrangement with FCCS to provide intervention services to immigrant and refugee families, although in a slightly different capacity than had originally been outlined in the proposal.
Both prevention and intervention services are provided through home visits and are one-on-one conversations between the service provider and the parent(s). As much as possible, the service providers are of the same background as the family, or at least speak the same language. The service provider first meets with the family, establishes rapport, and assesses their needs. Then, over a number of weeks, parenting themes are discussed and practiced using the Nurturing Parenting Program curriculum. In addition to using the curriculum, CRIS staff work with refugee parents to develop and practice positive parenting behaviors, understand American parenting norms and U.S. laws as they relate to child rearing, eliminate stress factors that increase the risk of abuse, and develop protective factors that prevent child abuse. The curriculum, as written, covers these themes in 12 lessons. For parents receiving prevention services from CRIS, they usually complete one or two lessons in each homevisit. For parents with open cases with FCCS, who are receiving intervention services, there is more flexibility in terms of the pace the lessons are given. With these families, parents are able to spend more than one week on a particular unit if they wish.
They use the Nurturing Parenting Program curriculum. Though it is not translated into all of the languages needed (only Spanish and Hmong), the service providers who make the home visits summarize the information in Somali and other languages as needed.
Services are provided to Somalis, Latinos, and the program will soon be expanded to include services to English and French speaking West Africans.
Intervention services are funded by Franklin County Children's Services and prevention services are funded by the Ohio Children's Trust Fund.
CRIS has four full-time staff dedicated to this program. There is one main person at FCCS who serves as a liaison with CRIS.
For both intervention and prevention services, after clients finish with their parenting classes and get a post test, a Satisfaction Survey is given to every participant. Overall, the results have indicated that the majority of clients have been satisfied with services CRIS has provided. They also have indicated that they would recommend this program to friends and relatives.
CRIS has served an average of 115 refugee or immigrant families per year under the prevention program since 2003. Only two families opened a case with FCCS after receiving preventive services. Both families were actually referred by the program facilitators. Since March 2007 CRIS has received 17 referrals from FCCS for intervention services and families have responded positively to services.
Prevention services began in 2003 and intervention services began in 2007.