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Domestic Violence and the Child Welfare System
Series: Bulletins for Professionals|
Child Welfare Information Gateway |
|Year Published: 2009|
Domestic violence is a devastating social problem that affects every segment of the population. It is critical for child welfare professionals and other providers who work with maltreated children to understand the relationship between domestic violence and child maltreatment, as many families experiencing domestic violence also come to the attention of the child welfare system. Families with co-occurring domestic violence and child maltreatment often have high levels of cumulative risk, and children in families with the highest level of cumulative risk are 10 times more likely to be placed into foster care than children in families assessed with low levels of risk (Kohl, Edleson, English, and Barth, 2005).
While system responses are targeted primarily toward adult victims of abuse, child welfare professionals, domestic violence advocates, courts, and other community stakeholders increasingly are working together to address the impact of domestic violence on children.
This bulletin discusses the extent of the overlap between domestic violence and child maltreatment, some of the effects of family violence on child witnesses, and the trend toward a more collaborative, communitywide response to the issue. It also features promising practices from States and local communities. For specific information about addressing the co-occurrence of domestic violence and child maltreatment in State Program Improvement Plans, see also Child and Family Service Review Outcomes: Strategies to Improve Domestic Violence Responses in CFSR Program Improvement Plans, developed by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Judges in partnership with the Family Violence Prevention Fund and the National Resource Center for Child Protective Services: www.nrccps.org/resources/featured_resources.php