Family Peace Center
     The Family Peace Center is a multi-agency, multi-disciplinary co-located service center in Rockford, Ill., that provides services to victims of inter-personal violence. Both public and private partner agencies assign staff on a full-time or part-time basis to provide services from one location. The facility focuses on reducing the number of times survivors tell their story and the number of places survivors must go for help, as well as increases access to services and support for survivors and their children.
     In January 2018, Mayor Tom McNamara established the Mayor’s Office of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Prevention. The Office brings together the work of numerous agencies and organizations throughout the community to collectively tackle the problems of domestic violence and human trafficking.
     The Office turned to our community to gain an understanding of the barriers and gaps preventing a complete community response to domestic violence and human trafficking and identify where our community must work to address the continuum of these problems. Over the course of ten months, interviews were conducted with more than 200 individuals representing stakeholders, service providers, law enforcement, faith leaders, medical personnel, first responders, court personnel, legal aid providers, educators, community members and survivors. This process led to the creation of a Task Force made up of key stakeholders to develop strategies and implement best practices to close identified gaps. Based upon interviews, we also gained an understanding for the need to co-locate services for survivors, and in February 2018, we pursued a grant to launch our communities’ effort to create our Family Peace Center. 
     The office was awarded a grant of nearly $500,000 from the Office on Violence Against Women in October 2018 to establish a Family Peace Center. In 2019,  we partnered with the Alliance for HOPE International to embark on a Strategic Planning process and convened workgroups made up of community members from various sectors to inform the development of the Center, and in July 2020, we opened Phase 1 of the Family Peace Center at 315 North Main  Street in Rockford. We will forever be indebted to our community members who attended listening sessions and planning forums and citizens who served on the following workgroups to ensure the success of the Family Peace Center:
    • Governance and Facilities,
    • Service Delivery & Operations,
    • Funding & Sustainability,
    • Community Engagement, Outreach and Volunteers,
    • Research & Outcomes, and
    • Faith Leaders

Other strategies of the Mayor’s Office of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Prevention include:

     Juvenile Enhanced Response Team (JVERT) – JVERT is a multi-disciplinary team that identifies children in trauma from violence in the home and develop pathways to restoration and safety so they do not become involved in the criminal justice system, either as a victim or perpetrator.
     Domestic Violence Enhanced Response Team (DVERT) – DVERT is a nationally recognized model of intervention that places an emphasis on identifying and providing coordinated, multi-disciplinary responses to high-priority/high-risk domestic violence cases.
     Educator Team– The Educator team plans the annual Educators’ Summit, which is designed to educate local teachers about domestic violence and human trafficking and provide teachers with tools to implement in their classrooms. As a result, we have seated an Educator Committee which has developed goals and objectives around the development of a region wide response to children in school dealing with violence induced trauma and the implementation of trauma informed healthy relationship curriculum in classrooms ages pre-K through 12th grade.
     VOICES Survivor Support Group – VOICES is a committee of survivors of domestic violence who volunteer their time to celebrate their strength and survival. This group of individuals use their collective voice to help others through advocacy, education and empowerment.
     Jennifer Cacciapaglia is Manager of the Mayor’s Office of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Prevention for the City of Rockford, Jennifer Cacciapaglia serves as a key collaborator in coordinating advocacy service organizations, law enforcement, and civic groups. Cacciapaglia has spent her entire career focusing on community work and engagement. In 2013, she co-founded the Rockford Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (RAASE) to work to end the demand for sexually exploited individuals through preventative measures, survivor protection, accountability of violators and community engagement. She also serves as the education coordinator and a trained facilitator for The Amanda Reed Foundation, created to educate young people about the dangers of unhealthy behaviors in relationships which can escalate into lethal violence. Cacciapaglia was previously an Assistant State’s Attorney with Winnebago County and City Attorney for Rockford, and she received her J.D. from Northern Illinois University School of Law in 1998.
     Jennifer will discuss the Family Peace Center, how it began, where is is now and what the future holds.  This will prove to be an interesting and informative program about a service that has been a long time coming to this community.  You are encouraged to invite friends or prospective members to join us for this Zoom meeting.