Communities in Action


The Defending Childhood Initiative operates in eight communities across the country—from the urban setting of Boston. Massachusetts to the Rocky Boy Reservation in Montana. Each community has developed innovative and effective ways to provide families with the essential services they need to break the cycle of violence and help reverse the effects of childhood exposure to violence. Learn more about how the sites planned, developed, evaluated their programming to meet the needs of their vibrant locales.

Boston, MA

With a population of 617,659, Boston is the largest city in the New England region. The city is comprised of many diverse neighborhoods, and there are major disparities among them. In 2010, the Boston Police Department responded to 9,230 domestic disputes. Sixty percent of calls involved an intimate partner. Of those…

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Cuyahoga County, OH

To help curb high rates of violence, the Defending Childhood Initiative in Cuyahoga County in Ohio strives to transform the community by increasing awareness of and responses to childhood exposure to violence, developing trauma-informed policies and procedures, and expanding treatment and and prevention services to children and their families. Through…

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Grand Forks, ND

As part of the Defending Childhood Initiative, more than 40 organizations across Grand Forks County, North Dakota—public and private, urban and rural, secular and faith based—created the Safer Tomorrows Project to make children’s lives safer. The project raises awareness of violence among all citizens, develop social norms promoting healthy relationships, and offer services…

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Multnomah County, OR

Multnomah County Defending Childhood Initiative, based out of the county’s Domestic Violence Coordination Office, brings together resources from across the county to raise awareness among professionals, community members, families, and youth about the prevalence of children’s exposure to  violence. multiple types of violence. The program’s core strategies include: Training adults who…

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Portland, ME

Portland Defending Childhood Initiative is a comprehensive initiative aimed at improving our community’s resources for both the prevention and treatment of childhood exposure to violence. The site is committed to improving the community’s understanding of the causes and consequences of early exposure to violence, and the solutions to improve the health and well…

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Rocky Boy

Led by the Chippewa Cree Tribe’s Department of Human Services, Rocky Boy’s Children Exposed to Violence Project (RBCEVP) is a collaborative effort of 11 organizations designed to prevent children’s exposure to violence, reduce its negative impact, and increase awareness. The Chippewa Cree Tribe is targeting all of the Rocky Boy…

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Led by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Attorney General’s Office, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s Defending Childhood Initiative, Wakanyeja Ta Wiconi Ki Awayang Kuwapi, that began in 2010, is a collaborative effort of roughly 36 organizations designed to prevent children’s exposure to violence, reduce its negative impact, and increase public awareness. The…

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Shelby County, TN

The Network for Overcoming Violence and Abuse (NOVA) is the community-base strategic Defending Childhood Initiative program for Memphis and Shelby County, Tennessee that aims to prevent and reduce childhood exposure to violence. NOVA is a system of public and private agency partners connecting services to children and youth exposed to…

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