National Study of Child Protective Services Systems and Reform Efforts: Site Visits Report . Increased Collaboration with Domestic Violence


The director of the VAP reported that eight counties have modeled their program on the one developed in Brooks County. Though located in the Sheriff's Office, the VAP works with the Quitman Police Department as closely, as well as with DFCS and the District Attorney. VAP has a dual role in working with DFCS — to support victims and nonoffending parents and to coordinate contact with domestic violence shelters and advocates in those cases involving domestic violence. DFCS reported that since the introduction of the VAP much of its work with domestic violence shelters has moved to that program. Police officers identify all children in the home when there is a domestic violence call. If the director or a volunteer did not accompany the officer on the call, a copy of the police report is forwarded to VAP regardless of police jurisdiction within the county. These in turn are forwarded to DFCS. DFCS reported that referrals have increased as a result of this program.

As of 2001, domestic violence staff became mandated reporters for child abuse. At the same time, the State of Georgia determined that witnessing violence is a form of child abuse and the police may charge the families with cruelty to children. However, the State DFCS did not implement a policy on how to help such children.2 The county stated that additional guidance from the State would be helpful.

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