National Study of Child Protective Services Systems and Reform Efforts: Site Visits Report . Future Plans


Training on the domestic violence protocol will continue.

Domestic Violence Policy and Practice

Training will be developed and implemented countywide. The following protocols will be the subject of any ongoing training.

The initial assessment protocol includes instructions to gather information about possible domestic violence:

  • Ask if there are concerns about emotional or physical domestic violence and interview partners separately to gather this information;
  • If there are concerns about violence, ask reporting partner to describe them;
  • Look and listen for behavioral indicators of domestic violence, including emotional abuse;
  • Identify other community service providers involved with the family;
  • Identify the support system available to the family;
  • Utilize a screening instrument to assess the lethality of the violence;
  • Refer both parties to First Step for assessment (women’s assessment is free; men’s assessment is $25); and
  • Complete a safety plan with the recipient for herself and one for the children, using the examples from First Step.

The CasePlanning and Case Management protocol include the followup directive.

  • Two service plans will be initiated, one for the recipient of the violence and one for the initiator of the violence. Template drafts will be available; observe standard for wording.
  • Service planning will include a safety plan for the mother and a safety plan for the children.
  • Develop a “code” by which the mother can contact the social worker and indicate a situation dangerous to her or the children.
  • Unless the perpetrator is engaged in — and making significant progress in — domestic violence treatment, family conferences will not regularly be used in these cases. A treatment team meeting with the mother and any service providers will be utilized instead. If the perpetrator is progressing in treatment, and the safety level has increased, a family conference may be held. This determination should be made in consultation with the social work supervisor and First Step service provider.
  • Any petition for cooperation will clearly state efforts the mother is making to protect herself and the children, rather than the lack of cooperation by the violent party.
  • Assure that both parties follow treatment recommendations from First Step assessments. A referral for anger management services is not sufficient unless recommended by First Step assessment.
  • Agency safety assessment, risk assessments and reassessments, and strengths and needs assessments will be completed quarterly or whenever there is a significant change in case status.
  • If risk remains moderate after 6 months of services, the case will be staffed for possible petition for cooperation.

Family Conferencing

The State of North Carolina has been attempting to implement family group conferencing as a statewide model of best practices in child welfare. The Catawba County family group conferencing coordinator was hired by the North Carolina Division of Social Services to work 1 day per week on this effort.

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