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Dec/Jan 2009Vol. 9, No. 10Safe Start Centers Reduce the Impact of Exposure to Violence

Helping communities develop evidence-based strategies for reducing the impact of children's exposure to violence is the focus of the Safe Start Initiative, a program funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) within the U.S. Department of Justice.

Phase I of the program supported 11 demonstration sites from 2000 to 2006. The focus was on systems change and collaboration building, as well as creating a comprehensive service delivery system to improve the accessibility, delivery, and quality of services for children exposed to violence and their families at any point of entry. Phase II of the program, funded in 2005, created 15 Promising Approaches pilot sites. The work at these sites is focused on implementing and measuring evidence-based, developmentally appropriate services for children exposed to violence within the context of the systems that serve them. A new booklet from OJJDP describes each of the 15 Safe Start Promising Approaches communities, outlines how these programs are integrating evidence-based or promising practices as well as other complementary interventions, and provides examples of how these promising practices have worked with a particular family.

Evidence-based approaches being utilized at the Phase II sites include:

  • Assessment-based treatment
  • Child development-community policing
  • Child-parent psychotherapy
  • Child welfare-domestic violence collaboration
  • Home visitation
  • Integrated case management
  • Intensive family-centered treatment

The booklet, Safe Start: Promising Approaches Communities, is available on the Safe Start website: (182 MB)

OJJDP has developed the Safe Start Center, a national center designed to support the Safe Start Initiative. The Center works with national partners and a multidisciplinary group of experts to provide training and technical assistance to the 15 Promising Approaches Pilot Sites. Resources on the Center's website include e-newsletters, factsheets, posters, public service announcements, guides and manuals, and articles on research and evaluation. The website can be found on the Internet: