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Rating: 5 stars  

Programs, Clients, and Demographics CAAFA’s programs address domestic violence using three approaches – prevention, intervention, and community collaboration. Prevention: To meet the goal of ensuring our community has an understanding of the dramatic effects of domestic violence, CAAFA operates a Youth Violence Prevention Program. The program educates youth in juvenile detention centers, pre-schools, elementary, middle schools, high schools, alternative schools, and community organizations such as the YMCA and the Boys and Girls Club. Topics include: teen dating violence prevention, healthy relationships, bullying, cyber stalking, and emotion regulation. In 2009 CAAFA provided 25 large group presentations and 167 small group workshops to 2,067 youth throughout the community. Intervention: Direct services offered to individuals and families affected by domestic violence include a 24-hour toll free crisis line, free one on one empowerment sessions, domestic violence support groups, shelter services in our 16 bed domestic violence shelter, legal advocacy, general advocacy, case management, education, workforce readiness training, financial education, nutritional education, transportation, referral, and other supportive services. In 2009 CAAFA documented 3,814 bed nights and 1,063 calls on the crisis line. Community Collaboration: The CAAFA Safe Home Network is a network of over 200 community partners that actively work together to address domestic violence and other social issues in our community. Partners represent 18 community entities including law enforcement, courts, behavioral health providers, social service agencies, educators, business owners, hospitals, animal service groups, schools, media groups, domestic violence survivors, and many others. Domestic violence is an important issue facing our community today. The U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse suggests children who are exposed to domestic violence are more likely to exhibit behavioral and physical health problems including depression, anxiety, and violence towards peers. They are also more likely to attempt suicide, abuse drugs and alcohol, run away from home, engage in teenage prostitution, and commit sexual assault crimes. CAAFA works to combat these risk factors through providing a safe, empowering, and nurturing environment to children in our shelter as well as educational arts-based programs, bullying prevention programs and youth relationship programs. Our work with children is especially important in Northern Pinal County where CAAFA is the sole provider of domestic violence prevention programs. CAAFA realizes that one of the best ways to help abused children is through helping the non-abusive parent. With that understanding, CAAFA works to make transitioning into our safe home for both women and children as easy as possible. CAAFA employs trained advocates that work closely with women and children residents, providing support, empathy, empowerment, and education. Once transitioned into the safe home and after the resident’s basic needs such as food and clothing are met, adult residents work with advocates to complete safety plans and to develop Individualized Service Plans that contain resident driven goals and objectives to be completed to reach those goals. Advocates support plans by meeting with residents regularly and delivering services using empowerment techniques. CAAFA’s shelter and its advocates are instrumental in providing families fleeing violent situations a safe refuge in which to stay and empowering services that help them to begin to heal and to work towards the goals of self-sufficiency and well-being. In 2009, CAAFA served 139 women and children with shelter and one-on-one services. CAAFA’s Legal Advocate logged over 450 hours of court accompaniment, talked with 88 victims about filing an Order of Protection, supported 20 criminal cases, assisted 233 program participants in completing court documents, assisted with 125 divorces and 110 custody, visitation and/or child support cases. The Legal Advocate also logged over 288 hours of travel time covering CAAFA’s vast rural service area. Residents meet weekly as a group to learn more about domestic violence, healthy relationships, self-esteem, coping skills, and to discuss group living issues. CAAFA also seeks input from residents about program development during these weekly meetings. Other programs such as parenting classes, arts-driven child education, domestic abuse support groups, scholarship programs, legal advocacy services, transportation services, counseling/empowerment sessions, referral to work and job training programs, referral to other social service programs to meet individual needs, and recreational activities are available to residents during their stay with CAAFA and after leaving the shelter. Children engage in educational services while parents are receiving services. All services are offered free of charge. CAAFA’s domestic violence program has filled a service gap in our community. The United Way of Pinal County conducted a needs assessment, utilizing a community assessment methodology developed by the United Way of America, to determine the most critical human service issues facing Pinal County. After the assessment, the United Way of Pinal County board of directors decided to adopt domestic violence as one of the three most pressing issues facing Pinal County. Through our efforts, women and children are protected from emotional, physical, and sexual abuse while learning to live violence-free lives. CAAFA’s target population in Northern Pinal County is mainly comprised of 62% Caucasian, 26% Hispanic, 3% Native American and 2% African American. Most women are ages 25-44 years with an average of 2.5 children and have an income of approximately $14,000. Per capita income is $16,025 (20% below the State). Importantly, 16.9% of the County’s population lives below the poverty line, of which 22% of youth live in poverty (compared to the States average of 20%). Unemployment in some parts of the County reached 10.3% according to the 2007 County Enterprise Zone Annual Report. Further, 47% of Pinal County’s population remains within its rural communities, and lacks public transportation.

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I have witnessed women and children in abusive situations move forward to live a life free of abuse with help from CAAFA.

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Role:  Professional with expertise in this field & As a full time employee of CAAFA I am always on the look out for new ideas to help maintain the level of service CAAFA has been able to provide the last 12 years.