History and background
1993 –1998 Experiences of creating and developing parenting groups for parents where domestic violence occurred
Identified need for men who are fathers to receive additional information and support to address the issues of their children
Increase the accountability measures of men who batter
Assist mothers in addressing those behaviors they see in their children that may be directly related to the experienced domestic violence
Parenting Groups for Men Who Batter, Ending the Cycle of Violence: Community Responses to Children of Battered Women. Eds. Jaffe, P., Edleson, J., and  Peled, E. Thousand Oaks, California, Sage, 1994.
1999 Develop a counseling version of Restorative Justice to focus on healing in relationships in the family that experiences trauma or violence
2002 Brought RP to DAP and began a Father's Group program as well as a variety of Mother Restorative Parenting program activities

Current Status
DAP offers a Father’s RP group which is open ended and a Mother’s RP group that occurs two to three times per year at 12 sessions at a time
DAP has trained and collaborated with other local programs for integrating RP principles within their respective programs and agencies (Sojourner Project, LSS in Minneapolis, Chrysalis, American Indian, OIC, Minnesota Women’s Indian Resource Center)
There are at least two programs in Minnesota currently using restorative parenting principles in their work with men who batter beyond DAP (Freeborn County and Olmstead County)
Lee Carlson Center in Anoka has received a grant to develop a RP program for the family
RP has been used as a model for creating some national work with fathers and parents as well. E.G. Children’s Aid Society in New York City has a stand alone RP program for fathers. 
Dave has done training for people throughout the US and internationally (Japan, Canada and Australia) for establishing RP programs

The Goal & Premise of Restorative Parenting

GOAL: To establish a process for rebuilding or strengthening the relationship between parent and child in the aftermath of experiencing a trauma violence in the family toward a sense of wholeness for each person
2 priorities
Safety for all participants
Establishing or increasing accountability measures

PREMISE: When a major life transition, trauma, violent event, threat to one’s safety, or significant loss occurs an unwritten and often unspoken contract of one or more relationships has been broken and the wholeness that did exist no longer exists. It is imperative within a family context that these relationships be restored, rebuilt or strengthened and there is work towards healing among individuals and relationships when possible, safe and appropriate.

Principles and assumptions

Restorative Parenting Strengths Assessment
A clinical tool
GOAL: Increase understanding of the areas of strength and limitations the parent currently has relative to his child on the following 8 dimensions:


Father’s Parenting Strengths Assessment

This assessment is to be used primarily as a clinical tool. Each dimension or area of strength is to be seen on a continuum or spectrum of strengths vs. areas of potential growth or limitations. The main purpose of this tool for the clinician or evaluator is fourfold: 

This proposed tool collects information using four methods:

This tool may also be used as an indicator of progress made in whatever program fathers attend relative to their parenting. Using this assessment along with assessments that identify children’s perceptions of being exposed to violence in the home will be invaluable for child custody evaluators, domestic violence workers, probation officers, child protection workers and court officials to make better decisions regarding the custody and visitation decisions in difficult cases that involve domestic violence. In the hands of a professional who is aware of the dynamics and issues related to domestic violence this assessment will be a needed tool among other information gathering measures. It is not meant to be a diagnostic assessment or one that should be used in isolation from other information taken from other assessments and collaterals.

Men’s Parenting Assessment Dimensions or Areas for Strengthening and Rebuilding the Relationship with the Child
The following are the dimensions or areas that the questions and responses will be coded under to gain a better understanding of the man’s capability, willingness and overall status for parenting his child in the aftermath of violence in the home. Each of these dimensions should be viewed on a continuum with the extremes being low to high. The administrator and professionals giving this assessment and providing insights into the results must keep in mind the dynamics of domestic violence and the effects of domestic violence on children as well as the adults in their lives. No labels should result from the synthesis or analysis of the information gained about a person after taking this assessment. Identification of strengths and potential areas of growth are the primary results of the information gathered. Some professionals may be able to use this information as a way to further develop a diagnosis or make some sort of mental health judgment, however this process should not be done in isolation and without the input of mental health professionals and experienced professionals in the field of domestic violence.

It is envisioned that each dimension described below will be represented by a composite of ratings from a predetermined set of responses from the questions and incomplete sentences being asked. In other words each dimension will be a composite of the ratings the interviewer notes for each question or incomplete sentence that connects directly with one or more dimensions. In the end eight scores will be available to make some interpretation about the father related to the dimensions.

TOOL DIMENSIONS-8 Areas for Strengthening and Rebuilding My Relationship with My Child(ren):
Understanding and awareness of the child’s perceptions
Empathy toward the children 
Empathy toward the children’s other parent
Parenting skills and awareness of addressing situations in the aftermath of violence in the home
Parenting self-efficacy in the aftermath of violence in the home
Cultural understanding with regard to parenting and domestic violence
Parental self-care skills and self-awareness needs and resources
Readiness for change/ restoring or working toward reconnecting with his child

Understanding and awareness of the child’s perceptions
This dimension precedes empathy toward the child. This is the man having the basic ability to describe and intellectually comprehend what and how the child sees the events and behaviors relative to violence in the family. Having high understanding does not guarantee a well-developed ability to act primarily in the interests of his child. A low understanding is more indicative of   simply having less information and may be in some  cases indicate denial about the realities of his child’s experience.

Empathy toward the children 
This dimension is often a piece of understanding about a man that is being sought by many people throughout the system. High empathy toward the children however does not mean that the actions he takes are necessarily positive or don’t carry a negative   impact on the children. Likewise low empathy does not mean the man is never capable of developing such skills. What we seem   to know from experience with many batterers is that generally when their empathy toward their children and their partner is    higher they tend to choose to make healthier behavior choices with these people. It therefore is a good sign and can be a good   indicator that reduces the risk of his continuing to be abusive in his behaviors the more he can put himself in his child’s shoes and   see through his child’s eyes.

Empathy toward the children’s other parent
This dimension looks at the empathy levels having to do with the children’s other parent and empathy for that person’s situation.   Understanding for and the capacity to access the other parent as a resource and view the other parent as a positive and necessary   part of his child’s life is of greatest interest here. Acceptance of the other parent’s role in the life of the children and capacity to not  put the child in the middle by blaming the other parent or using the other parent as a barrier demonstrates this ability to have   empathy for his child.

Parenting skills and awareness of addressing situations in the aftermath of violence in the home
The parenting skills taught in many of the very good parenting programs sometimes can be ineffective or useless to a parent   whose children have experienced violence in the home. Parents themselves minimize the strategies and techniques that are   suggested to be used by the general parenting programs. It is always a good beginning to have knowledge of these strategies to   build on in the specialized programs that attend to addressing the aftermath of violence in the home. Of particular interest is   whether the parent participating in this assessment makes any statements that seem to indicate his understanding that the child’s   experience may influence the effectiveness of the strategies or skills they have as parents. Far too often parents and fathers even   lack the basic fathering skills and know-how. Sometimes the parenting skills are not a regular part of the father’s awareness and     so a review process of such skills can be helpful. At times a cultural issue is that the father does not have a role in the family or the  community or this role that may have historically existed has become disjointed and minimized through acculturation processes.     Having the skills, knowing how and when to use them and having an understanding of the dynamics of violence in the home are   going to help reduce future potential damage to the children.

Parenting Self-Efficacy
Many parents feel ill equipped to handle the day-to-day let alone periodic stresses and traumas experienced within a family. Few   if any of us were handed a manual on how to raise a child when we became parents. Thus the need and popularity of the many   parenting programs, books and curriculums. This dimension goes beyond simply having the tools to parent. This dimension   primarily attends to the father’s sense of being able to apply the tools and capacity for doing so.  Without a belief that I can     realistically use the tools often the skills and techniques are not used and the reality is that it is easier sometimes to resort to     abusive behaviors if the other strategies do not feel practical or usable.

Cultural understanding with regard to parenting and domestic violence
This dimension is to be particularly understood and to what degree this father sees the two areas.  This includes to what extent the  cultural community and ethnicity of the father or family is a resource. The evaluator also must be aware of the relative issues for   this particular cultural community as well as understand issues of acculturation and one’s own biases relative to this particular   group or community. Understanding the current role of men in the culture, having a grasp of how the role of men for this culture   has changed or been affected by coming to the mainstream and having to acculturate is highly important. Understanding also that   not only is the story being told to you as being important it is important to understand how and through what ears the stories are   being heard.

Parental self-care skills and self-awareness needs and resources
These skills and strategies are often not taught. Some of the techniques that are most healing and most effective also take much   practice over time to integrate into one’s daily life. These strategies are important to identify as they provide a basis for respect to   others by respecting and taking care of oneself. The extent to which a father can identify these skills and then is able to access the  resources are two different things. There is also a level of intensity or deeper understanding on how to apply these skills that in   time either is learned or fathers may have intuitively developed over time. Those with high self-care skills may be able to better   explain what they are thinking and how they use this thinking to make healthy decisions for themselves. Higher levels of this   dimension also may include several significant relationships that are currently available and accessible to address the stress and   concerns as well as assisting in maintaining a responsible outlook for oneself. 

Readiness for change/ restoring or working toward reconnecting with his child
This dimension must be determined primarily by those responses of the person being evaluated. Too much analysis of the answers  may result in making assumptions and guesses that are far a field from the person being evaluated. This dimension is meant to   give the evaluator a sense of which stage of readiness the father is in relative to the readiness for change model. There are seven   stages each with different characteristics, however it is not a strictly linear process. It exists more as a dynamic process with some   overlapping among stages or phases. Higher ratings in this area do not guarantee a smooth connection or restoration process for   the parent and child. It does however provide a realistic view of what can be expected of he person in any given stage of     readiness.

Some things to remember

Father’s Group Curriculum - COMING SOON

Current application of the program - COMING SOON
One T - - 499 Wacouta Street . Saint Paul . Minnesota . 55101