National Study of Child Protective Services Systems and Reform Efforts: Site Visits Report . Attention to Domestic Violence


One-half of the sites worked with domestic violence programs, reflecting widespread interest in improving the coordination of CPS in domestic violence situations. In Brooks County, Georgia, workers from DFCS would accompany police on domestic violence investigations since Georgia has defined witnessing violence as a form of child abuse. By increasing the coordination with the local victims assistance program in serving children, it was reported that more CPS staff time would be available to work on other cases.

In Catawba County, North Carolina, if domestic violence appeared to be a factor, the CPS worker would develop safety plans for both the victim and the child. This included referring them to “First Step,” which provided shelter and treatment. If, however, the risk to the child was high and the parent could not or would not cooperate, or if the situation was not improved after

6 months of services, the Department would file a petition requesting custody of the child.

The Department of Children and Families in Union County, Florida, had an interagency agreement with a local domestic violence program, through which there was a mutual commitment to share information and clients, as necessary, to protect children and the nonoffending parent.

La Crosse County, Wisconsin, initiated a process to improve cooperation between CPS and domestic violence programs. A workgroup developed a document recommending the creation of training for domestic violence staff on the CPS system; development of a memorandum of understanding between the two agencies; and revisions to CPS investigation standards.

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