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RESPONDING TO INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE IN THE CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM Judy Hughes Faculty of Social Work Shirley Chau School of Social Work University of.

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Presentation on theme: "RESPONDING TO INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE IN THE CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM Judy Hughes Faculty of Social Work Shirley Chau School of Social Work University of."— Presentation transcript:

1 RESPONDING TO INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE IN THE CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM Judy Hughes Faculty of Social Work Shirley Chau School of Social Work University of Manitoba UBC Okanogan October 2009

2 Exposure to IPV Central Questions: Should exposure to violence or abuse between parents be a concern? If so, in what situations or level of risk should intervention occur? What responses are appropriate?

3 Mandate of the Child Welfare System Best Interests of the Child Historically and currently, children’s welfare is the primary consideration Investigation to ensure child safety and well- being Intervention occurs when children are at risk Davis & Krane, 2006; Shephard & Raschick, 1999

4 Exposure to IPV Should exposure to violence or abuse between parents be a concern? Research on IPV exposure documents significant harm to children’s cognitive and social long-term adjustment and inconsistent and abusive parenting Methodological limitations, inconsistent definitions, clinical samples, multiple sources of information, conflating direct and indirect harm, and harm due to community violence and poverty Some children exposed exhibit behavioral, cognitive and emotional functioning and attitudes Edleson, 1999; 2004; Fowler & Chanmugam, 2007; Hazen, Connelly, Kelleher, Landsverk, & Barth, 2004; Kohl & Macy, 2008

5 IPV Identification & Assessment If so, in what situations or level of risk should intervention occur? Theoretical development of the concept of IPV or IPA is increasingly complex Multiple forms or patterns of relationships that suggest multiple responses Little research of these in practice settings (in the context of complex and diverse families) and connections between IPV relationship type and harm to children Antle, Barbee, Sullivan, Yankeelov, Johnson, & Cunningham, 2007; Johnson, 2006; Kelly and Johnson, 2008

6 Investigation of IPV & Child Abuse Is exposure to IPV identified as a concern? CIS % of substantiated cases of child maltreatment involve exposure to DV as a primary form of maltreatment Referral for services and out of home placement often involve many other co- occurring problems Is the child welfare system appropriate? Antle, Barbee, Sullivan, Yankeelov, Johnson, & Cunningham, 2007; Black, Trocme, Fallon, & MacLaurin, 2008

7 Established Practices What responses is appropriate? Research is critical of established approaches: Examination of case files and interviews with social workers and interviews with mothers Suggest two broad approaches – 1) minimization or 2) intrusive confrontation Helpful responses – seeking of protection orders and aid in obtaining resources, i.e. childcare and housing Humphreys, 1999; Johnson & Sullivan, 2008; Magen, 1999; Scourfield, 2001; Seith, 2001; Shepherds & Raschick, 1999;

8 Suggested Alternatives Increased focus on exposure to IPV as a form of child maltreatment: Formalized screening for IPV and worker training Inclusion of DV advocates within CW teams Strengthening of and referrals to community DV services Banks, Hazen, Coben, Wang, & Griffith, 2009; Edleson, 1999; Featherstone & Peckover, 2007; Magen, 1999; Smith, Kelleher, Barth, Coben, Hazen, Connelly, & Rolls, 2005)

9 Conclusion Is the child welfare system appropriate for families in which IPV is occurring? Understanding of the role of child protection services: Investigation of risky parenting and child functioning with services offered only when risk is evaluated as high or multiple concerns are evident Or enlargement of the best interests of children mandate to include best interests of the caregivers


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