Current Interventions in Co-Occurring Child Maltreatment and Domestic Violence: A Qualitative Study of Changing Policy, Practice and Collaboration in North Carolina Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Francis, Stephanie Lee
    • Affiliation: School of Social Work
  • Although research suggests that spouse abuse and child maltreatment are clearly linked within families, the services developed to address these social problems, child protective services (CPS) and domestic violence (DV) agencies, have historically functioned separately. In 2004 and 2005, North Carolina implemented the Multiple Response System (MRS) and a domestic violence policy for CPS. This study examined these changes, particularly in relation to domestic violence, and explored current perspectives regarding collaborative efforts between CPS and DV agencies. The methods used were individual interviews with key informants from social services and the domestic violence community and focus groups with CPS workers and DV advocates across the state. Twelve key informants participated in the individual interviews. Twenty-two workers participated in three CPS focus groups and 14 advocates participated in three DV groups. Key findings included differences in the level of awareness and understanding of the two CPS policies between advocates and other study participants. Although workers and key informants from both communities were knowledgeable about MRS and the DV policy, the advocates in the DV focus groups were largely unaware of either. Notable changes with the new policies, as described by study respondents, fell into two categories - practice changes and philosophy changes. The most frequently noted practice changes for MRS were the dual tracking system and changes in interview order. For the DV policy, noted changes were interview order and changes in procedure around removal of children from battered mothers for failure to protect. Significant philosophical changes related to the DV policy included directly linking the safety of mothers and children and not holding mothers responsible for their batterers’ behavior. For MRS, philosophical shifts included being more family centered, needs focused and strengths based. Focus group participants from both CPS and DV identified an increased understanding of the complexity of domestic violence by CPS workers. Study participants also reported improved relations between CPS and DV agencies in recent years. All participants agreed more can be done to increase coordination and collaboration between these services and made recommendations about training, communication and the creation of a shared position between the two agencies.
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  • Weil, Marie
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