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Policy & Training Institute

Creating Awareness about Relationship Equality (CARE)

The Creating Awareness about Relationship Equality (CARE) program is an initiative of our Office in collaboration with the Administration of Children's Services (ACS), and part of the City's ThriveNYC mental health initiative. The CARE program provides 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.

Through CARE, our Healthy Relationship Training Academy (the Academy) addresses 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.

All Academy workshops are facilitated by trained 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. The Academy's peer educators are trained extensively on the subjects of teen dating violence, healthy relationships, and peer education.

Demonstrated Need

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 and caregivers believe dating violence is not an issue, or admit 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.