Project HOPES is a state-funded, community-based initiative to prevent child abuse and neglect across 35 Texas counties determined to be high-risk areas, with the aim of empowering local communities through education, skill development, and capacity building.
The Texas Institute for Child & Family Wellbeing is evaluating the project’s effectiveness. Researchers are experts in the risk factors that contribute to child abuse and neglect, and their social work background brings additional value towards interpreting and understanding the results.
During the evaluation, the research team also saw the opportunity to strengthen social services practice in the targeted areas. For example, the team found that agencies were resistant to collect sensitive adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) data from the parents they were serving. To address this missed opportunity, the team delivered training for more than 1,000 social workers to empower them to address multi-generational transmission of trauma with their clients, have a compassionate conversation to help remove shame, and help them understand why it’s important, as parents, to choose a more protected path for their own children than what they experienced.