Each year, members of the advisory committee prepare and develop a full-day Forum, which brings together stakeholders from child welfare, violence against women organizations and ministry representatives to participate in an educational and inspiring session.
The Forum ensures that the VAW and CAS sectors continue to work together for increased networking, problem solving and service cohesion.
Attendants are updated on the important work of the CAS/VAW Advisory Committee in Toronto, in an engaging and interactive way and to provide an opportunity for questions, insights and collective learning.
Furthermore, participants provide feedback and recommendations regarding the most effective strategies and approaches to bringing the work of the CAS/VAW Collaboration Agreement Advisory Committee up a level in order to inform next steps. Participants include a cross-section of staff levels within the sectors, including executive directors, managers and front line staff.
The Co-Location Model
Members of the advisory envisioned, implemented and supervised the CAS/VAW Co-location Model, which was piloted in 2012. The model set a new standard in terms of collaborative service delivery: it created a framework in which VAW expertise could be effectively integrated into the work of the child protection services, and in which families could access immediate, coordinated community services that addressed both child welfare and domestic violence.
Dialogue and learning went beyond documenting shared objectives and practices to having workers collaborate on case management, risk assessment, safety planning, and ongoing support.
In many cases, the experience of mothers went from uncertainty, fear, and/or suspicion of CAS workers to more open engagement. Workers demonstrated greater capacity to engage abusers and hold them accountable within the new model. Each respective sector has reported improved capacity, efficiencies, worker knowledge, and outcomes for victims of violence.
The E-Learning Centre
The advisory developed an E-Learning Centre for workers in the violence against women and child protection agencies. The goal of the e-learning, like that of the Collaboration Agreement, was to increase safety for women and children by enhancing co-operation between workers and improving service delivery.
The E-Learning Centre was an on-line tool developed to ensure increased learning, collaboration, and networking among CAS and VAW workers in Toronto. It was a flexible, web-based, learn-on-demand system that allowed staff to complete courses at their own pace and schedule.
There were three modules:
Access to the E-Learning Centre is now closed.