The Creating Awareness about Relationship Equality (CARE) program is an initiative of the Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence (OCDV) in collaboration with the Administration of Children's Services (ACS) as a part of the ThriveNYC mental health initiative. The CARE program will provide interactive workshops on teen dating violence awareness and healthy relationship skill building to youth between the ages of 11 and 21 in the New York City foster care system.
This initiative will implement the Creating Awareness about Relationship Equality (CARE) program within OCDV's Healthy Relationship Training Academy (Academy) to address the needs of youth within the New York City foster care system. The Academy is a prevention-based model that offers workshops to young people in order to raise awareness about the issue of teen dating violence, educate youth to recognize unhealthy relationships and engage youth in skills development activities to build healthy relationships.
Academy workshops are facilitated by peer educators, who are themselves between the ages of 17 and 26, who encourage discussion and critical thinking about the challenging topic of relationship behaviors. Academy peer educators receive extensive training on the subjects of teen dating violence, healthy relationships, and peer education.
Educating youth in foster care on the topics of teen dating violence and healthy relationships is critical. In 2015, 5,031 children were placed in foster care after domestic violence was substantiated in their households. Studies show that children who witness abuse, or are subject to physical or sexual abuse, are twice as likely to become adults who are victims or perpetrators of intimate partner violence.
In order to create a culture of healthy relationships for young people, it is important to also provide caregivers with information on these subjects. Nationally, 81% of parents/caregivers believe dating violence is not an issue or admit that they do not know if it is an issue. In addition to providing workshops for youth, the CARE program offers workshops and trainings on the subjects of teen dating violence awareness and healthy relationships to foster parents and foster care agency staff.
The CARE program will conduct over 300 workshops annually to reach approximately 5,000 youth in foster care, in addition to 900 foster care parents and foster agency staff.