In-home Visitation and Access Program (I-VAP): Building a Bridge for Parents and Children

What if AL children were afforded a cost-effective, high-quality court-ordered visitation with custodial & non-custodial parents/guardians?

Photo of Dr. Denise B. Cleveland EdD, CMFSW Diplomate, LCSW, PIP
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Founding Story: Share a story about a key experience or spark that helps the network understand why this project got started or a story about how you became inspired about the potential for this project to succeed.

From 2008 - 2010, I served on the Alabama Family Law Reform Task Force, appointed by Governor Bob Riley. The purpose of this task force was to study in depth Alabama’s existing domestic relations or family law statutes for purposes of eliminating duplicative statutes and to also recommend ways to revise and modernize Alabama's laws to more accurately reflect the needs of families, children, and victims of domestic violence as they relate to custody, visitation, and access.

Which categories describe you? (the answer will not be public)

  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French, Caucasian)

Website

http://trojan.troy.edu/healthandhumanservices/humanservices/index.html

Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [State]

  • Alabama

Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [City]

Dothan

Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [State]

  • Alabama

Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [City]

Southeast Alabama , Wiregrass Counties
Montgomery, Macon, Lee, Bullock, Barbour, Houston, Henry, Geneva, Dale, Coffee, Butler, Crenshaw, Covington, Pike.

Cities include, but are not limited to the following: Dothan, Enterprise, Daleville, Geneva, Troy, Ozark, Montgomery, Eufaula, Headland, Abbeville, Phenix City, Elba, Andalusia, Opp, Luverne, Greenville.

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Troy University’s College of Health and Human Services, Department of Social Work, as lead agency, proposes to create the In-Home Visitation and Access Program (I-VAP): Building a Bridge for Parents and Children. The purpose of I-VAP is to offer an in-home visitation program combined with an intervention which will result in positive mental health outcomes for children and families and a higher quality of visitation between the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent.

The purpose will be achieved through developing and implementing (a) an intervention program aimed at non-custodial and custodial parents referred to I-VAP by the Houston County Circuit Court, Family Services Division, Building a Bridge, LLC, a community agency providing therapeutic mediation, co-parenting classes, parenting plan development, parenting coordination, individual therapy services, and family therapy services, and (b) a Social Work educational practicum placement for current MSW students.

The I-VAP will be created through a partnership with Troy University, the Houston County Circuit Court, Family Services Division, Building a Bridge, LLC, and other community stakeholders.

Is your model focused on any of the following traditionally underserved communities?

  • Communities of color
  • Children who are differently abled
  • Religious minorities (non-Christian)
  • Low-income communities

Does your model work within any of the following sectors?

  • Childcare
  • Child and Family Services
  • Community Development and Empowerment
  • Criminal Justice
  • Education
  • Mental Health

Year Founded

2017

Project Stage

  • Idea (poised to launch)

Example: Walk the network through a specific example of what happens when a person or group engages with your solution.

Parents or guardians may be court-ordered to have supervised visitation, individual and/or family therapy, co-parenting classes, parenting coordination, or therapeutic mediation in Alabama domestic relations and/or divorce cases. Dr. Cleveland is frequently appointed by the courts to provide these specialized services, up to and including judiciary appointment as a Special Master. These court-ordered services impact children and families emotionally, legally, financially, and psychologically. The I-VAP pilot project will identify risk and protective factors to normalize the legal process for court-ordered cost-prohibitive services by providing services within the home.

Impact: What was the impact of your work last year? Please also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Goal 1: Complete a unique service innovation of an I-VAP that is relevant to public health. This includes ensuring a collaborative planning process through the participation of public and private agency partners, and building on the strengths and needs of the judicial system. This will be achieved by compiling a needs assessment.

Organization Type

  • government

Annual Budget

  • $10k - $50k

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is your solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Goal 2: Develop a comprehensive evidence-based intervention for I-VAP that is not only strategic but also sustainable. Intervention elements will include education and training curriculum and create a field practicum placement. The intervention delivery will be relatively inexpensive due to the use of the MSW students at Troy University. This will be achieved by adapting best practices models available to the needs of our consumers.

Unique Value Proposition: How else is this problem being addressed? Are there other organizations working in the same field, and how does your project differ from these other approaches?

Goal 3: Implement the intervention through training custodial and non-custodial parents with developmentally appropriate child management techniques and healthy co-parenting techniques administered via brief behavioral and cognitive-behavioral techniques which focus on parental skills, coping mechanisms, and communication skills.

Reflect on the Field and its Future: Stepping outside of your project, what do you see as the most important or promising shifts that can advance children’s wellbeing?

Goal 4: Share project results across Alabama and disseminate findings nationally. Project results will be disseminated through presentation at national conferences and publication in peer-reviewed journals. An evidence-based procedures manual will be developed to improve service delivery and export the program adaption in Alabama’s 67 counties.
Goal 5: Evaluate the impact of the training and education on family-level and individual-level outcomes. The evaluation process will be iterative to refine the curriculum on an ongoing basis, as well as to evaluate the impact of the intervention.

Source: How did you hear about the Children’s Wellbeing Challenge? (the answer will not be public)

  • Other

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka, who was it? (the answer will not be public)

Troy University, Office of Sponsored Programs

Evaluation results

4 evaluations so far

1. Relevance: Does this project seem to help children (ages 0 to 12 years) develop a strong sense of self, belonging, and purpose?

5 - Yes, this is great! The project lays out a strong, compelling case for how its model nurtures children’s wellbeing. - 0%

4 - It seems like a good fit, and the model talks explicitly about children’s wellbeing. - 0%

3 - I think so. The project seems related to children’s wellbeing, but the logic is vague. - 50%

2 - Not sure. The project doesn’t have much to do with wellbeing, or it doesn’t give enough information. - 50%

1 - Nope, this project definitely doesn’t fit the challenge brief (e.g., It doesn’t help kids younger than 12, isn’t in the U.S., etc.) - 0%

2. Innovation: Does this project tackle children’s wellbeing from a new angle?

5 - I loved this! The project describes a novel model that addresses important cultural or systemic barriers. - 0%

4 - This is pretty cool. The project is addressing an important problem in a new or compelling way. - 0%

3 - I feel like there’s something there, but I want more details about what makes it distinctive. - 50%

2 - It’s a good project, but I’ve seen others like it before. - 25%

1 - It was confusing or hard to tell what it made it different. - 25%

3. Social Impact: What is this project’s potential for creating positive social impact?

5 - Lots of potential. This project is achieving impressive results, and it’s growing quickly. It could absolutely inspire changes in the ways we approach caring for kids nationally, across sectors (e.g. childcare, healthcare, education). - 0%

4 - Pretty good potential. This project demonstrates significant positive impact so far, and it could scale regionally or nationally one day and fundamentally change how a system operates (e.g. childcare, healthcare, education). - 0%

3 - Budding potential. This project is creating local impact, but it would take a few adjustments before it could scale. - 25%

2 - Some potential. This project demonstrates some initial positive impact, but it would require major changes before it could scale. - 25%

1 - Limited potential. This project has great intentions, but it looks like it does not include key drivers of a shift towards children’s wellbeing. - 50%

4. Overall, how do you feel about this idea?

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 0%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 0%

3 - I think the idea is great, but it needs some work before it moves onto the next round. - 25%

2 - I liked it fine but preferred others. - 25%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. Needs significant revisions. - 50%

5. Offer some feedback. Where should this participant spend some time revising?

DEFINING THE PROBLEM. Make sure to articulate the root causes or main barriers of the social issue your project addresses. (Founding Story, Problem, Solution). - 50%

CLARITY OF MODEL. Make sure to mention (a.) the beneficiary, b) the main activities, and c) how those activities drive social impact. Keep it streamlined! - 100%

MARKETPLACE. Make sure to research other players in this space and articulate how this project is different. I didn’t get a complete sense of how this project compares to others. - 100%

IMPACT POTENTIAL. Make sure to use specific numbers to describe what your project has achieved so far! And consider how you might scale the model or its insights, through partnerships, trainings, or franchising. - 100%

WRITING STYLE. Try to stay concise and make it vivid. Avoid jargon. - 75%

Nothing stands out! I thought it was great. - 0%

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Photo of Dr. Denise B. Cleveland
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Thanks for your comment.

a) The project seeks to alleviate the cost of supervised visitation for parents who are court-ordered to have a clinician supervise them.  The fees are not reimbursable by third party payer.

b) The fees are covered by grand-funding, thereby connecting the parent and child quickly.

c) The projected impact is that more children will be reunified with their parents sooner, hopefully on a non-supervised basis.

d) This project is unique in that it can take place within the home, removing travel cost for participants.

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