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Rethinking Protection: Innovating to Advance Safety, Well-being, and Justice


Tien Ung, PhD
Futures Without Violence
Jenny Pearlman
Safe & Sound
Julia Arroyo
The Young Women’s Freedom Center
Bridges to Better Resource


February 14, 2024


About Bridges to Better
Pathways to Healing and Protective Factors
Systems Change

Date: February 14, 2024, 3 – 4 pm ET

Description: Child welfare system responses to families experiencing domestic violence (DV) and child maltreatment are based largely on the premise that children need to be rescued from the parent(s) who have “failed to protect” them. This understanding of the problem justifies “solutions” such as surveillance of families and mandated reporting, family separation, and coercive service and treatment plans. Well-documented race, class, and gender inequities are inherent in child welfare and its intersections with the criminal legal system, juvenile justice, immigration, and other systems of carceral control.

Given the history of child welfare and current mindsets and practices, it can be difficult to envision possibilities for transformation toward what many people around the U.S. are calling for – a child and family well-being system in which ALL children and families are valued. Yet some organizations are successfully re-imagining the system landscape and actualizing new ways of seeing, thinking, and doing! In this critical conversation, leaders from Safe & Sound, the Young Women’s Freedom Center, and Futures Without Violence will share their learnings.

Objectives: This webinar will aim to:
1. Energize activists, organizers, and systems actors & leaders to create a bold vision for supporting and empowering families and communities to end family violence.
2. Identify active ingredients & critical touchpoints for innovation within the child welfare ecosystem.
3. Learn from the histories two long-established organizations who have evolved to meet the needs of impacted people.

Tien Ung, PhD – Tien is the Associate Director of Impact and Learning on the Children’s Team at FUTURES. Her work centers on helping individuals and organizations translate and apply relevant research, build knowledge, and generate culturally authentic evidence to improve outcomes for families impacted by adversity and trauma.  At FUTURES, she collaborates with colleagues and external partners to design practice, program, and policy solutions by integrating community wisdom, lived experience, and 21st century science. Tien draws from 25+ years of experience as a child protection expert, trauma therapist, social work educator, community-based researcher, and systems consultant. She has worked across sectors—including child welfare, criminal justice/family law, schools, rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters, and child and family trauma clinics. Prior to joining FUTURES, Tien was Director of Leadership Initiatives & Programs at the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. Tien is a licensed clinical social worker and has a PhD in Social Work.

Jenny Pearlman
Julia Arroyo  – Julia Arroyo is the newly appointed Co-Executive Director at The Young Women’s Freedom Center. She is a second-generation immigrant of Mexican/Filipino descent who identifies as Xicana and a Bay Area native. Julia has over two decades of experience in community health, rape crisis, and outreach work with sexually exploited youth. Her own involvement in foster care, the underground street economy, and incarceration makes her work at YWFC extremely personal to her. Since joining The Young Women’s Freedom Center in 2014, she has been instrumental in the success of the organization’s programmatic work. Her commitment to maintaining the culture and its healing methodologies is central to YWFC’s ability to effect change. Julia’s vision for the Young Women’s Freedom Center is to continue to deeply invest in system-impacted young people to ensure they have growth opportunities at YWFC and in larger societal movements. While running the Young Women’s Freedom Center headquarters in San Francisco, her work has enabled expansion to Santa Clara County, Oakland, and Los Angeles. Julia’s story serves as an inspiration to so many and her unyielding commitment to community through transformative justice has impacted countless lives for generations to come.

Accessibility information: This webinar is presented in English with closed captioning in English. If you require other accommodations to access this resource, please email us so that we can do our best to meet your need.

Disclaimer: Bridges to Better is a project of Futures Without Violence. The development of this webinar is supported by Grant Number 90EV0401, 90EV0532, and 90EV0524 from the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Family and Youth Services Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and by the Children’s Bureau, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, under grant #90CA1850. Points of view shared are those of the presenters and do not necessarily reflect the official positions or policies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Part 1: Rethinking Protection: Collaborating to Create Survivor-Centered Systems
Part 2: Rethinking Protection: A New Angle on Accountability