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2011 Childrens Bureau Region IV Child Welfare Collaboration Initiative Meeting August 15-17, 2011 Domestic Violence and Child Welfare Fernando Mederos.

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Presentation on theme: "2011 Childrens Bureau Region IV Child Welfare Collaboration Initiative Meeting August 15-17, 2011 Domestic Violence and Child Welfare Fernando Mederos."— Presentation transcript:

1 2011 Childrens Bureau Region IV Child Welfare Collaboration Initiative Meeting August 15-17, 2011 Domestic Violence and Child Welfare Fernando Mederos Shellie Taggart Isa Woldeguiorguis

2 Domestic Violence and Father Engagement in Child Welfare: Looking at the Big Picture Cannot change practice without understanding and changing system Change happens ground up, top down, horizontally and external/internal Technical fixes Practice Improvements Systems Enhancements Culture Change Leadership happens at all levels.

3 You are Leaders! Prepare….know the issue Assess your environment Find your allies Know thyself

4 Knowing the Issue: Why does Child Welfare care about domestic violence and fatherhood? 15.5 million U.S. children live in families in which partner violence occurred at least once in the past year, and seven million children live in families in which severe partner violence occurred. (McDonald et al, 2006)

5 Why do we care? Witnessing DV is not only associated with child physical abuse, but all forms of child maltreatment (physical and sexual abuse, psychological abuse, neglect and custodial interference). National Survey of Childrens Exposure to Violence, 2008 Physical abuse during childhood more than doubles the risk of future victimization among women and the risk of future perpetration of abuse by men. Whitfield et al, 2003

6 Overlap of DV and Child Maltreatment Most studies found 30 – 60% overlap; 41% was median High rates of overlap found in: – Child fatality reviews (41% - 43%) – Abused child studies – Battered mother studies Edleson (1999b), Appel & Holden (1998)

7 How are children exposed? Directly witness assault, rape Hear the violence, name calling, threats, intimidation, disrespect Feel the tension See aftermathbroken furniture, bruises on their mother, father (or mother) being taken away by police Forced to participate in or watch the abuse of their mother Intervene to protect their mother

8 How are children exposed? Threats to their own safety or well-being threats to kill, threats to call CPS (removal), never seeing their mother again Physically placed in harm s way After separation, may be used to relay messages, keep tabs on mother, harass mother Seriously injured or killed during an assault Witness homicide of mother

9 Impact of exposure to DV on children Over 100 studies available A third separated abused from exposed children and found similar outcomes Generally show: – Behavioral and emotional problems – Cognitive functioning problems – Longer-term problems Edleson (1999a)

10 Impact of exposure (examples) Infants and young childrenfailure to thrive, somatic complaints, separation anxiety, regression School-agedwithdrawn and passive, or aggressive and acting out Older youthdrug and alcohol use, promiscuity, running away, use of violence

11 Consequences for children Children who witness domestic violence are more likely to exhibit behavioral and physical health problems including depression, anxiety, and violence towards peers. They are also more likely to attempt suicide, abuse drugs and alcohol, run away from home, engage in teenage prostitution, and commit sexual assault crimes. (Jaffe and Sudermann, 1995; Wolfe et al, 1995)

12 Impact of exposure depends on... Exposure to DV may have emotional and physical consequences for children depending on – Frequency, severity, chronicity, proximity to the violence – Age at which exposure begins – Multiple forms of exposure/poly-victimization (exposure to DV, dating violence, bullying, school crime, gang crime, internet crime, neglect, community violence, physical and sexual abuse, family or stranger abduction, rape)

13 Impact of exposure depends on... Exposure to DV may be mitigated by protective factors such as – Presence of loving and supportive adults – Presence of supportive community – Child s individual temperament – Opportunities for healing and success – Sense of racial or ethnic pride

14 Domestic Violence, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues Risk triumvirate! Research unclear due to various methods, studies and approaches. Victimization-Trauma-Mental Health Issues-self medication Perpetration-Substance abuse Children: DV and SA exposure, challenged parents National Center for Children and Poverty, 2004

15 Racial and Ethnic Disproportionality and Disparate Outcomes Fact: 500,000 children in foster care in the US No significant racial difference in rates of abuse and neglect. Yet, 60% of those children in care are children of color Why? Disproportionality refers to a comparison between the children in foster care, for example, and children in the general population Disparity speaks to the relationship between person of color and others (Hill, 2006)

16 Assessing the environment: How are we doing? What does data tell you about: – Who you are serving (race, communities, ages of children) – Numbers of DV reports – Rates of screen in/out of DV – Rates of substantiation in DV – Rates of removal in DV – Service plans and types of community referrals in DV – Rates of finding fathers

17 How are we doing? What are your policies about: – Threshold for intake in DV situations – Policy or protocols for screening/intake – Decision-making processSDM, DR, ? – Service planning/referrals – DV Consultation, team meetings, specialized services – Reasonable efforts in DV cases

18 How are we doing? What are your internal processes? – Does your QA process include DV/F? – Do quarterly and annual reports include DV/F? – Does CFSR prep and internal findings include DV/F? – Does your Citizen Review Panel, Agency Board or Fatality Review Team include DV/F reps? – Do you have regular legal and policy review and development processes that include DV/F?

19 Find your allies…or create new ones! Relationship, relationship, relationship Ask more questions than give answers Pick your battles Be prepared for the long haul Keep your eye on the prize: Safety and well-being of kids and families!

20 Domestic Violence Principles Safety for children and non-offending parent together Engagement of fathers/men; work with fathers in different ways depending upon strengths and risk factors CPS involvement based on clear thresholds of physical or emotional harm to children--nexus of caregiver behaviors and impact on children Strengths-based, accurate assessment, including: – patterns of behaviors, both risky and protective behaviors – family history (including trauma) as it relates to current and future safety and well-being, – other issues such job instability, financial stressors, institutional racism/discrimination, substance abuse, mental health issues, concrete resource needs related to poverty

21 Domestic Violence Principles Focus on reducing the disproportionate impact of the system on children and families of color at both a DV practice level and a systems level – Practice: behaviorally-based DV assessment; effective father engagement; safe family meetings; building upon existing resources and strengths in families; self-reflective practice – Systems level: use data to understand/address disproportionality within DV cases; collaborate with juvenile justice, mental health, and court systems to address the cumulative differential impact of systems on families and youth of color; develop leaders to explore and address race-based DV outcomes; build capacity of the system (policy, programs) to implement new DV strategies

22 Child Welfare Practice Universal screening for DV Engagement of families Assessment Planning Decision-making

23 Child Abuse and Neglect Report Police responded to a domestic assault in front of 93 Sterling Avenue. Monique Davis was punched in the arm and face by her BF Dupree Simmons because she was going to visit another BF. Child Preniqua (age 9 months) was present during the assault. Officers documented bruises on the arm of Davis and a swollen left cheek. Simmons was taken into custody and charged with A&B.

24 Universal screening for DV Of all reports at intake –Do you know whether there has been violence between adults in the home? Throughout life of familys involvement When see red flags

25 Universal screening: systems issues MUST have a system that knows how to respond when DV is identified – Learn lessons from other states – Avoid disclosures of women being battered to doctors, hospitals, therapists automatically resulting in report to CPS Families from specific communities over-reported to CPS, others are under- reported

26 Engagement: DV practice Engage NOP first Engage DV offender early in process whenever possible – If safety is a concern, plan for later involvement of DV offender – On occasion, may not be possible to engage DV offender at all for safety reasons Relationships are key to safety for children and the NOP

27 Engagement: DV practice CPS involvement can make things worse for NOP and children – Pay attention to safety at every stage Family meetings Universal messages, without judgment: – Potential impact of exposure on children – Cultural norms and values vary – All families have strengths, and most have tried to keep children safe

28 Engagement: systems issues Training and consultation are critical Disproportionate impact of CPS on FOC makes engagement/trust more difficult Relationships within familys natural support system are key to long-term safety If fathers not currently engaged, asking staff to engage them is an increase in workload

29 Assessment: DV practice Fundamental question for CPS involvement: How have these children been harmed physically or emotionally as a result of exposure to DV? What is the evidence? Why specifically are we worried about the potential for harm in the future? Domestic violence vs. family conflict

30 Assessment: DV practice Assessments must be behaviorally- based to avoid/minimize bias and error – Avoid compliance or cooperation orcompletion as proxies for safety Look as rigorously and deeply for safety as for danger/risk – Safety is NOT the absence of danger Assess progress toward more safety

31 Assessment: DV practice Trauma-informed – Instead of asking whats wrong with you? asking what happened to you? Relevance of past history on the current and future functioning of families in regards to their ability to keep children safe

32 Assessment: systems issues Critical thinking happens more effectively in a group process, not one-worker-to-a-family model Assessment of systems responses needed Research on poly-victimization may lead to more CPS involvement for FOC and poor families No one good tool exists for assessing impact of exposure to violence on children

33 Planning: DV practice Planning WITH the NOP – Safety and empowerment Expanded networks of support and safety Build plans based on prior problem- solving and prior acts of protection by the family, including the DV offender – Use solution-focused practice

34 Planning: systems issues Avoid trauma of placement Family meetings: – May need separate meetings – Meeting with DV offender is first about engagement and support for change, not alternate planning for children Observable and measurable plans that increase safety Cultural values re: protection of families from the system

35 Decision-making: DV practice Behaviorally-based decisions: – Danger, risk to children from DV – Indicators of safety within DV Child exposure to DV child abuse Familys desire/need for services to support behavioral changes Define enough safety

36 Decision-making: systems issues Look at DV and race/ethnicity data at decision points: – Screen in or out – Support/substantiation/concern – Placement of children (kin and foster care, residential care) – Open for services/close – Close after services

37 Working with Men Who Batter in Child Welfare What are the pros/pluses/benefits? What are the cons/minuses/risks?

38 Rationale Effective intervention with men can have a great impact on the safety of children and their mothers If we dont intervene with men in DV situations – We makes mothers responsible for all changes needed – We increase risk to her

39 Rationale Many men who batter have great potential to change and can be recovered as good fathers and partners If we fail to intervene with them, a significant opportunity to improve the lives of families is missed, as is the potential to repair the relationship with their children

40 MWBWho are they? Moderately violent 40 – 70% On-going re-assaulters 30 – 50% Highly dangerous/ less than 5% potentially lethal Systems filter issue Not a major mental health group CPS population may differ

41 Principles Safety Engage men and fathers in different ways depending on strengths and risks Strength-based, holistic, behaviorally- based assessment

42 Safety Confidentiality Ongoing assessment Avoid pressuring mother/children to have contact with father (risk and trauma issues) Attend to fathers potential use of children to abuse/punish mother

43 Differential engagement Differential engagement: work with fathers in different ways depending upon their risk levels and strengths – With moderately violent man, consider services to help him address domestic violence and to support his parenting. Visitation may be highly advisable OR he is at home.

44 Differential engagement With ongoing re-assaulters or highly dangerous men, primary emphasis more narrowly focused on services to address domestic violence and/or substance abuse. – For men not in the home, access to children can be more restricted and supervised – For men at home, ongoing assessment of children--may be no access to children.

45 Strengths Relationship with children Commitment to fatherhood Positive discipline Children & mom not afraid Change in behaviors (violence and abuse) See ASSESSING LEVELS OF RISK Tip Sheet

46 Engagement Acknowledge importance of fathers Inquire about fatherhood vision, attachment to children Look for stability, social capital Respect, listen Education: impact of behavior on children and their mother

47 Messages You are really important to your children You are a role model for themboys and girlsin different ways A man cannot hurt or abuse his childrens mother without also hurting his children They will carry these memories with them always. You can make a difference for them.

48 CAPTA Reauthorization CAPTA requires addressing the co-occurrence of domestic violence and child maltreatment: Disseminate information on training resources, effective programs and best practices in the collaboration between CPS and domestic violence services, Collect information on the incidence and characteristics of child maltreatment cases where there is also domestic violence, and Discretionary grants to promote and support linkages among services for abused children and their mothers and the development of effective collaborations.

49 CAPTA Collaboration Opportunities Support statewide collaborations between domestic violence coalitions and child welfare agencies Federal collaboration to address the needs of children and adults impacted by violence Research on effective collaborations between CPS and domestic violence services that provide safety for children exposed to domestic violence and their non-abusing parents; to improve investigations and delivery of services for children and families;

50 FVPSA Reauthorization (2010) Emphasis on collaboration at national, state, and local levels Expanded best-practices and evidence- based solutions Dedicated funding for children exposed to domestic violence Better protections for survivors

51 FVPSA Program Purpose 1. Provide the primary Federal funding stream dedicated to the support of emergency shelter and related assistance for victims of domestic violence and their dependents; 2. Provide for a national domestic violence hotline; 3. Assist States and Indian tribes in efforts to increase public awareness about and prevention of, family violence, domestic violence, and dating violence.

52 FVPSA Grants Overview Formula Grants – States and Territories – Tribes – State Domestic Violence Coalitions Discretionary Grants – National Domestic Violence Hotline – National and Special issue Resource Centers – Expanding Services for Children and Youth – Expanding Leadership Opportunities for Underserved Groups

53 Fostering Connections (2008) Requires all adult relatives of a child be notified of foster care placement but carves out an exception to this requirement in cases of family or domestic violence. Established Family Connections Grants on a competitive basis for a range of programs, including supportingfamily group decision-making with exceptions to certain requirements when potential for danger exists. Mandates attention to helping children exposed to domestic violence and linking them to appropriate services.

54 Affordable Care Act – Home Visitation (2011) Part of Affordable Care Act New state-level program to expand home visitation programs–help to vulnerable pregnant women and new mothers around caring for their babies Decreasing domestic violence as one of 5 outcomes (must choose 3) by which programs will be measured

55 Fernando Mederos Director of Fatherhood Engagement, Massachusetts DCF (617) 548-9171 Shellie Taggart, Consultant Through the NRCCPS OR independently at (413) 336-6767 Isa Woldeguiorguis, Consultant

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