Not referring cases as the lieutenant in the San Diego police department thinks is appropriate would reduce the police department's referrals to CSB by about 20 percent. The Child Abuse Unit staff have received some domestic violence training but their focus is primarily on the abuse of children under age There is some overlap between the two units but not much. The lieutenant explained that this is because "they are two separate crimes involving different patterns and causes" and that children are seldom found to be victims in domestic violence situations. However, most step-by-step instructions for investigations of domestic violence cases primarily treat children as potential witnesses to domestic violence incidents.
The police department in Chula Vista provides office space for an in-house domestic violence advocate. The advocate, who is bilingual, reviews all domestic violence police reports and tries to contact all victims to provide them with information about their rights and about support services and programs in the community. The advocate is a staff member of South Bay Community Services, a private community service agency located across the street from the Chula Vista police department.
Among the family violence prevention and intervention services offered through South Bay Community Services are crisis intervention and counseling, victim support and case management services, children's services, court-certified batterer intervention groups, prevention education, and confidential scattered-site emergency shelters.
As of several years ago, there were major gaps in services in San Diego County, especially services for children affected by domestic violence. There was also a dearth of high-quality programs appropriate for battered women many therapists who work with victims are not properly educated about domestic violence.
The Children's Services Bureau issued a community-wide bulletin to solicit efforts to begin to fill these gaps, and the community has responded well. There is some controversy in the community about the circumstances surrounding services for battered women. One battered women's shelter worker, for example, thought CBS's involvement with mothers and children made her work easier by reinforcing the types of changes needed to keep them safe and secure. The Family Violence Project has no formal linkage with the domestic violence community. The program does, however, interface informally and extensively with the battered women's services community.
Family Violence Project staff looking at ways to improve program policy and procedure are planning to develop this area. Battered women who decide to leave their abusive partners can choose to participate in an intensive assistance program also called the Family Violence Project that is modeled on Boston's AWAKE program. The San Diego program serves about mothers and children a year. It has kept a relatively low profile because staff cannot handle a high volume of cases. The success of this collaboration depends on the individual CSB caseworker. Several contacts thought that CSB had improved in recent years and commended the work being done by the Family Violence Project.
A lack of communication and coordination at the court level is an ongoing problem in the county. In fact, the county juvenile court was recently divided into several smaller regional courts, further fragmenting the system. There is very little communication between family and juvenile court and conflicting court orders are not uncommon.
One interesting development is the establishment of a semi-unified domestic violence court in the South Bay region of the county. The South Bay region, with a population of about ,, housed a family court and a superior court for the first time in and Since the civil domestic violence work did not require a full-time judge, the county established a single domestic violence court handling criminal cases in the morning and civil cases in the afternoon.
The domestic violence court primarily interfaces with CSB through its family court services program. All children involved in San Diego County juvenile court are provided publicly-funded legal representation through the Child Advocacy Division of the Public Defender's Office.
The division's staff of 17 lawyers and 13 investigators monitor cases and make at least one home visit with each child during the six-month interval between hearings. At any given point in time, lawyers carry a caseload of about children, and investigators who investigate and monitor cases between hearings are responsible for children. The director of the Child Advocacy Division estimated that more than half of the children they see are affected by domestic violence.
The division's staff all have some background working with children, including social work, pediatric nursing, education, and counseling. Child Advocacy Division lawyers maintain close contact with CSB social workers, therapists, and other service providers on particular cases, but their relationship with CSB workers can be quite tense.
Social workers see these lawyers as looking over their shoulders and criticizing them in court. While there is lots of training in San Diego County, including two bar-wide training sessions a month in addition to in-house training, there is no court-mandated training for lawyers on domestic violence. The outcome measures they are using come directly from the Family Violence Project's own stated goals and outcome indicators. These goals are measured using the following indicators: One important limitation of the study, noted by the lead researcher, is that the cases under study are among the very first involved in the Family Violence Project.
More recent cases may differ because the Family Violence Project now gets involved much earlier on in the life of a case. There are serious barriers to the CSB data system's ability to support more general evaluation efforts. Most California CSB cases involving domestic violence cannot be identified. Since the number of referrals or cases with domestic violence present cannot be determined short of manually reviewing all case narratives , there is no way of assessing whether such cases differ from non-domestic violence cases in terms of recidivism and other factors of interest.
Conclusions In many ways, linking adult probation and child protection for those families active to both systems, as is being done by the Family Violence Project, makes a great deal of sense. From the perspective of child protective services, this model takes advantage of the offending parent's existing probation status to hold him accountable, something which most CPS agencies are unable to do effectively, in large part because their only real sanction is removing a child from his or her home. Linking services with adult probation also has the important advantage of dealing with some of the CPS's hardest-to-serve and most violent families.
An important limitation of this linkage, however, is that only a small share of CPS cases affected by domestic violence are likely to be eligible for the program. Clearly, if the CPS is serious about addressing domestic violence among families in its caseload, it will need to go beyond a narrowly focused unit such as the Family Violence Project. San Diego's Children's Service Bureau is trying to do this by building on the internal expertise and knowledge that Family Violence Project staff have acquired, to develop training curricula and protocols for all case workers in the agency.
Staff also train other workers directly and consult with workers on cases involving domestic violence. This model of establishing a specialty unit with the view to modifying case practice throughout the entire agency is an interesting alternative to trying to change case practice immediately through agency-wide training alone. The Family Violence Project's supervisor also noted how important it is to build community-wide forums of communication and trust. CSB's relationship with the larger domestic violence community is quite mixed. Some of this may reflect the newness of CSB's efforts in this area and the fact that the Family Violence Project serves only a small share of all CPS cases affected by domestic violence.
But successfully linking child welfare and domestic violence will also require a change in perspective by battered women's advocates and service providers. In San Diego, this process is just beginning. For others interested in establishing a similar program, the Family Violence Project supervisor suggested setting things up at the administrative level and then immediately bringing line workers together. She also cautioned that one should expect to have to make initial changes in staffing levels and to help workers overcome long-held stereotypes.
Ongoing training of all staff is also critical. The supervisor attributed much of the program's success to staffing the project well with client-sensitive probation officers and skilled social workers and having the top-most agency leadership committed to the effort. This commitment helps infuse a culture throughout the agency down to the line staff, and means that the project need not depend on the good will of individuals in order to be successful.
The supervisor emphasized the importance of creating a team spirit among the staff and ensuring that they do not get polarized. The unit's specialty status means that staff view it as a plum assignment and as a group they feel pride and ownership over the project. Hawaii County covers the island of Hawaii, also known as the Big Island because it is the largest of the state's islands. East Hawaii includes the small city of Hilo population just under 40, as well as outlying rural areas. Though small by national standards, Hilo is the largest city on the Big Island and is the second largest city in the state next to Honolulu which is located on the island of Oahu.
The residents of Hawaii County include a diverse and complex mix of ethnicities, races, and cultures. Seventy percent of the population of Hilo is Asian or Pacific Islander, 27 percent is white, and 8 percent is Hispanic. The county at large has a higher proportion of whites 40 percent and lower proportion of Asian and Pacific Islanders 57 percent. In addition to the Native Hawaiians, who have been on the islands for many centuries, the Asian and Pacific Islander population includes many cultures such as Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, and Samoan.
Native Hawaiians are disproportionately poor relative to the rest of the population. Many of the whites have migrated to the island from the mainland United States and settled in the rural areas on the southeast side of the island near the town of Pahoa. In this area, developers are subdividing large tracts of land and selling plots that often lack running water and electricity. Residents of these subdivisions are both poor and middle income, and their homes range from makeshift shacks to large houses.
The dirt roads and lack of addresses greatly complicate the work of the Child Protection Services, police, the courts, and other service providers in the community. Reaching them for home visits can be very difficult and making contact by mail or telephone impossible. The County of Hawaii bears a disproportionately high share of the social, health, and mental health problems in the state. The county has the highest rate of confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect and the highest rate of births to mothers age 15 to In , 40 percent of the 2, births in the county were nonmarital, the highest rate in the state.
Total cases in family court were up 8 percent from Increasing levels of distress in the community are coinciding with severe cuts in state funding. The number of confirmed abuse and neglect cases increased by 20 percent in the past year, while the same number of workers have fewer service providers to call upon. Most of the community's social service agencies, including private providers, enjoy good relations and open communication, but all agencies and organizations are constrained and many are overwhelmed by the workload in relation to state budget cuts.
The East Hawaii CPS includes one intake and investigation unit, two case management units, and one foster care and licensing unit. The case management units each contain one supervisor, six case managers, and three or four case aides. In , EICI received 1, calls and investigated of the reports. Of the cases confirmed as abuse or neglect, EICI registered as new cases, reopened closed cases with new intake information, and added intake information to 74 existing open cases. Hawaii state law allows CPS to take protective custody if a child is being physically or psychologically harmed due to abuse or neglect, or is at risk of such injury.
While each branch has free rein to accept cases at all levels of risk within this framework, due to increasing reports and caseloads the East Hawaii unit is unable to serve those who are at the less severe end of the spectrum. It was suggested that growing caseloads are due to both an increased awareness of the issue of child abuse and neglect and more stringent reporting laws, as well as an increase in the use of crystal methamphetamine and a resurgence in the use of heroin. One worker stated that several years ago, the unit would receive a report of only one baby per month who was born with drugs in its system.
Now they investigate an average of one per week. The use of crystal methamphetamine is particularly problematic for CPS because its users become tense and often violent when they come down. In general, the severity of injury and abuse has been increasing among the families CPS serves. Finally, CPS workers in East Hawaii cover a large geographical area, including many rural communities. Investigators drive a minimum of 30 or 40 miles a day, and miles in a day is not uncommon. At least 95 percent of cases that are transferred into the case management unit are under the jurisdiction of the court and fall into either Family Supervision, where children remain in the home, or Foster Custody.
Families in both types of cases are required to follow a service plan. Case managers carry caseloads of approximately 22 families each. Of these, the supervisor believed that, on average, five families had domestic violence as their primary reason for referral, and another five as their secondary issue. Child Welfare Agency Approach to Domestic Violence The primary linkage between child protection services and domestic violence exists through the criminal justice system.
Child welfare workers have access to the criminal histories of the perpetrators of abuse and to a list of all active temporary restraining orders TROs. The family court judge oversees child abuse and neglect cases as well as petitions for TROs. The judge has access to all former and current criminal and civil family court case records involving the perpetrator and other family members.
The judge actively questions TRO petitioners about the well-being and whereabouts of their children, and if the children appear to be or have been in danger, he refers the case to CPS. CPS workers often attend the afternoon TRO hearings to report back to the judge regarding cases he has referred to them. CPS often assumes cases referred to it by the judge, suggesting that he screens them well.
Judges in Hawaii are able to combine all family cases into one family court. In Maui, for example, all family cases — including criminal and civil cases, divorce proceedings, child protection, and juvenile justice — are seen in the same court. In East Hawaii, all family cases other than criminal cases are seen by the family court.
When the full-time judge was appointed in , he created a third family court in the state and appropriated all divorce, temporary restraining orders, juvenile justice, and child protection cases. All civil and criminal non-familial cases and criminal family cases are seen in the district court. Only a small portion of family cases involve criminal proceedings including sex abuse, physical abuse, and domestic violence.
The judge would like to include criminal family cases but is unable to do so because of his caseload. If the family court expands to two full-time judges as expected in the future, the court will begin to hear the criminal cases as well. The family court judge routinely tries to gather as much information as possible about the families he will see in court.
When a family is active in several different types of judicial proceedings within his court, the judge may hold the hearings back to back or simultaneously ; this is not only convenient for the parties involved, but allows for maximum consistency in rulings. Since many probation office staff are housed in the same building as the family court, and CPS staff familiar with the family are often at court for other cases, the judge calls on these individuals during hearings. This system allows for more flexibility and ensures that families will receive a consistent message with coordinated orders.
While all of the judges have easy access to all case records involving a particular party, only the family court judge routinely reviews the former cases of a particular family or perpetrator. This judge considers himself to be making very critical decisions in these families' lives, and therefore acknowledges a need for as much information as possible.
The family court judge reviews all petitions for TROs on Tuesday mornings. The application that a victim must complete in order to petition for a TRO includes questions pertaining to any threat or actions taken to harm her children. A TRO can also be requested on behalf of a child. The judge reviews the application and questions both parties in court about the existence of children, their whereabouts during the particular incident, and their general safety. Because the judge is aware of the overload of cases within CPS, he acts as a screener to determine the level of safety of the children.
If a child appears to be in danger, he requires that CPS staff submit a report or appear in court at the TRO follow-up hearing to recommend whether the court should obtain jurisdiction over the child.
These return hearings on civil protection orders, which are held regardless of CPS involvement, are essential to obtain the perpetrator's cooperation. Any violations of TROs, however, are sent to the district court. In , EICI requested criminal histories on all new cases accepted into the unit — roughly half of all intakes that were investigated. This compares with an overall state rate of request for criminal histories of 17 percent of all investigations.
One worker thought that almost half of her cases involved at least one parent with a criminal record. The criminal history provides a picture of the family environment — how often the perpetrator has been in prison and for how long, whether a perpetrator has been violent in the past and to whom, whether the violence is escalating or shows other patterns, whether drugs are a major problem in the household, and whether the perpetrator is on probation. In addition, a list of the names of both petitioners and respondents for every active TRO is reviewed. If a TRO exists, the intake worker notes the presence of the TRO and the court case number on the file, and the investigation worker assigned to the case later accesses police reports and court records related to the TRO.
The intake desk also checks the state CPS system to find out about previous state involvement with the family, and checks the Hawaii Automated Inquiry System to determine whether a family receives AFDC. When a child abuse report is made, the intake worker checks the names of all persons involved in the case. CPS investigation workers are given much freedom in how they carry out their initial visit. How they address domestic violence, therefore, varies across workers.
At least one worker always spoke with the children separately in order to gain a broader picture. Whether she spoke with the mother separately from the father depended on the situation. If the perpetrator remained in the home and there was concern for the child's safety, the child would be removed. The workers considered witnessing domestic violence a serious issue and very harmful for the children involved. However, investigators lacked specialized protocols or procedures for routinely screening for abuse between the parents. The CPS workers we spoke with were aware of and concerned about domestic violence as an issue that needed to be addressed in order to ensure the safety of the child.
However, it was not clear how well that translated into also making the safety of the mother a priority. In part, this translation was hampered by a lack of tools to use in aiding mothers directly, and a lack of broader community services for CPS workers to draw upon. If the domestic violence was so severe as to place the children in danger, the workers explicitly informed the mother that if she did not leave the batterer, she risked losing her children.
One client with whom we spoke stated that the choice between her partner and her children was given to her and that CPS supported and encouraged her to choose her children. The intake supervisor acknowledged that the obligation to protect the mother was not as great once the children had been removed. If it is safe for the children to remain in the home, however, they monitor the situation.
They noted that the mother does not leave her partner or even if she leaves, she returns or enters into another equally unhealthy relationship at least 80 percent of the time. The case managers have devised ways to help mothers leave their batterers by identifying a safe haven, making contingency plans, developing self-esteem, breaking dependency, and getting the mother into school.
Case managers also draw upon what is usually a large extended maternal family as a resource to help support a victim of domestic violence. The case managers were very concerned about the lack of services in the community to serve both perpetrators and child and adult victims of domestic violence. Alternatives to Violence was, until recently, the only program offering treatment services. Another program had recently been established, but had not yet developed many links with CPS. Unfortunately, there are few private therapists experienced in the issues of domestic violence to draw upon.
An additional problem is that many of the psychologists who do work on the island are very reluctant to accept CPS clients because Medicaid reimbursement rates are very low. Some native Hawaiian families request a form of traditional Hawaiian therapy known as Ho'oponopono "to make things right". While CPS allows families to receive Ho'oponopono, supervisors also include Alternatives to Violence in the service plan because they do not feel that Ho'oponopono alone successfully addresses abuse issues.
Several service providers explained that Ho'oponopono was an acceptable supplement to — not substitute for — standard treatment approaches. Ho'oponopono involves working with the entire family together, which is often not appropriate for families affected by domestic violence. Domestic violence is only one of many issues confronting case managers and families. Many parents must cope with substance abuse problems. Approximately 80 to 90 percent of CPS cases involve drugs, especially crack cocaine or crystal methamphetamine.
Substance abuse problems also contribute to many control issues over money. Addicted fathers often beat a child's mother in an effort to get her welfare money. Some case managers said they tried to work through the substance abuse issue prior to resolving the domestic violence. In the past two years, the Department of Human Services in Oahu sponsored two day-long domestic violence training sessions for their East Hawaii Branch staff. This training was mandatory for all line workers but not their supervisors, though several attended.
Each of the two training sessions was delivered by an Oahu-based organization — one by the Family Peace Center and the other by the Domestic Violence Clearinghouse. A third domestic violence training sponsored by Hilo's Domestic Violence Interagency Taskforce was held in spring All Intake Unit staff and several case workers from other units attended the day-long session devoted to coordinated community efforts to prevent family and domestic violence.
One supervisor explained that it was expected that workers would approach their work differently as a result of these training sessions, but she was unsure that they actually did. She also noted that no agency-wide policy changes grew out of these training sessions. A primary benefit of the link between CPS and the justice system is that decisions about families made by CPS workers and the judge are based on greater knowledge about the family's situation.
Furthermore, the greater the communication between the various agencies and players, the more difficult it is for the perpetrator to manipulate the system. The primary disadvantage of this approach is that it has not been able to foster the development of adequate treatment and follow-up services, a key part of helping families and children once they have been identified. Prior to this most recent effort, other interagency groups met on and off over the preceding decade.
The ongoing work of these groups has allowed for open communication lines and positive relations to be built within the domestic violence community. The taskforce includes Child Protection Services, Alternatives to Violence see below , the crisis shelter, the prosecutor's office, law enforcement, adult probation, the Children's Advocacy Center, family court, district court, the local medical center, and private therapists. Most recently, the taskforce has focused on legal procedures, education and public awareness, and prevention activities. Overall, the community displayed a widespread desire to cooperate and work together to help children affected by domestic violence.
Unfortunately, services — particularly for children — are extremely limited. For example, there are no support groups for children who have witnessed domestic violence. Also, the Department of Education, the Department of Health, and the medical community are noticeably absent from community coordination efforts. Nonetheless, it appeared that at the individual level of service delivery, some cooperation with these agencies did occur.
Alternatives to Violence Alternatives to Violence ATV is the main program providing batterer intervention services and support groups for battered women. ATV also provides women applying for a restraining order with an advocate to help them through the application and court process. Over the last two years, ATV has changed directorship and is recovering from a recent period of mismanagement.
It lost many of its resources but is slowly building them back up. Within the last six months, ATV started a new batterer intervention program but it is not well-known or widely used by CPS workers or others with whom we spoke. Approximately 95 percent of the participants in ATV's batterer intervention program were court mandated. The counselors let the prosecutors, CPS, and probation know when a client misses several weeks in a row.
As part of its program, ATV conducts a monthly check with the female partner to ensure that she is safe and to determine whether her partner is continuing threats or violence or has begun to change his attitude and behavior. If he has acted out, the counselor raises this within group session directly if the woman believes it is safe or indirectly through role playing. If it is apparent that children are in danger, the ATV workers, being mandated reporters, will encourage the woman to self-report to CPS and will do so themselves if she does not.
Over half of the women in the domestic violence support groups are court mandated, primarily through family court. ATV has mixed feelings about this policy — they feel it revictimizes women, but understand that some of them need to be compelled into treatment and that often abusive men may not allow their partners to attend unless it is required. Women were often blamed, regardless of the existence of spousal abuse, prior to the increase in education and awareness among child welfare workers.
Within its first week of operation, the shelter's budget was cut by 30 percent and the shelter was immediately forced to let go of its domestic violence advocate, child behavior specialist, and volunteer recruitment coordinator. The shelter director believes that recent budget cuts have brought the community to a very critical point in its history, but the cuts have also caused community members to draw closer together. The shelter works with CPS when they have a family in common. The relationship between the two is good, and many years earlier the shelter director worked as a case manager for CPS.
She felt that CPS was doing what it could with limited staff, but that identifying domestic violence at earlier stages in their cases would be worthwhile. The CAC focuses on the needs of children who have been severely abused. In East Hawaii, the CAC spearheaded a widespread community effort to respond more effectively and sensitively to children who have been sexually abused.
The center provides a child-friendly space for police and CPS staff to conduct joint, videotaped interviews so that child victims and witnesses do not have to be interrogated multiple times unnecessarily. The CAC coordinator also sets up multidisciplinary coordination meetings for children and families involved in both civil and criminal court proceedings.
The center is available for cases other than sexual abuse, and has begun to reach out more aggressively for physical abuse cases. While not actively involved with serving children primarily affected by domestic violence, the CAC director was certainly open to becoming more involved.
CACs across the state had recently surveyed private providers to gather information about their areas of expertise including domestic violence. Although the survey results were originally intended for distribution among the judiciary alone, the CAC director was very enthusiastic about sharing the information with CPS and others. Prosecutor's Office The Prosecutor's Office primarily coordinates with CPS on cases that involve severe physical or sexual abuse of a child.
The staff we spoke with did not feel that many of their domestic violence cases involved CPS, but it was unclear whether they knew a family was active with CPS unless the child was the victim in the prosecution's case. However, they believed that it was always better to see the bigger picture, and that CPS might provide useful information even in domestic violence cases. The Prosecutor's Office has a domestic violence interagency liaison who chairs the DVIAT meetings and who promotes training in all agencies by organizing and sharing information on training opportunities. For example, when Family Peace Center training staff came to the Big Island last year, the liaison managed to have them stay an extra day to provide training to additional community agencies such as CPS.
Law Enforcement The East Hawaii police department does not have a separate domestic violence unit, although it has applied for funds to support this. One officer has received specialized training in domestic violence in order to train other members of the Hilo police department. New classes of recruits receive 16 hours of domestic violence training, and all officers receive about 4 hours a year of in-service training. The training is not mandatory for supervisors or captains. Currently, the police operate under a pro-arrest policy, and the relevant state statute supports arrest if there are "reasonable grounds" for domestic violence — a standard of proof lower than "probable cause.
It was unclear to what degree officers actually do this. The police department is applying for a grant that would allow it to hire an in-house community service coordinator to respond to domestic violence calls and make appropriate referrals for the family. The police department's juvenile aid section works closely with CPS on cases involving severe physical or sexual abuse of a child. The police detective conducts a joint investigation with CPS in order to respond to the situation faster, simplify the investigation, obtain better physical evidence, and lessen the trauma for child victims by reducing duplication.
There did not seem to be an awareness on the part of the police department about whether any or many cases of physical or sexual abuse also involved domestic violence. Different probation officers oversee offenders from family court, from district court for misdemeanors, and from district court for felony cases. A particular probationer may have several different probation officers, just as he or she may be involved in several different court cases.
Because the probation officers sit together, they can share information about the offenders and pool resources. It is up to the probation officer to notify a judge if he or she is aware of conflicting orders in a different court case. While most domestic violence cases should be handled in criminal family court, a large proportion of cases are plea bargained and switched to third degree assault to avoid a hour mandatory jail term.
This causes the case to be switched from criminal family court to district court. The district and family court criminal judges rarely ask about the children or CPS involvement. However, a judge can call for a pre-sentencing report for any felony, and does so for about half of domestic abuse cases. The pre-sentencing report contains information on the offender's social history, criminal record, prior offenses, defendant statement, police report, victim impact statement, medical, psychiatric, education and employment history, and current family composition and situation, including CPS involvement.
Only if the judge requests this report will he learn information regarding other existing court orders or services pertaining to the family. Again, the primary overlap with CPS appears to be for sex offenders. The probation officer who handles the majority of adult domestic violence cases for family court knew of only 6 cases out of a caseload of that were active within CPS. This probation officer primarily found out about CPS involvement because the family court judge pulled up the perpetrator's legal files and found that he was on probation.
The judge then called the probation officer into court to try to work the service plan around probation's terms and conditions. This probation officer did not know whether a higher share of his cases actually overlapped with CPS. Probation officers were generally willing to monitor the CPS service plan as part of probation, once they were aware of the conditions and terms. There was little integration between the two agencies, however, largely because the majority of domestic violence offenses were convicted as misdemeanors and their probation officers cannot pay for any services.
Only felony probation officers had funds to pay for services. Therefore, CPS feared that probation might piggyback on their service provision without providing much in return including enforcement. Incarceration — a probation officer's principal stick — is rarely used for violations because of prison overcrowding. CPS staff are readily able to track perpetrators across cases in fact, they can access the CPS history of any family member.
In theory, therefore, they are also able to track the subsequent CPS involvement of offenders who participated in various intervention services. Although the CPS data system appears to be quite sophisticated, it does not electronically interface with any other program information systems e. Cross checks and overlaps with these other systems are done manually. Conclusions In general, Hilo is a community rich in commitment to domestic violence issues generally and to linking these to child welfare services, but poor in resources.
Hilo has an active community-wide interagency domestic violence team, and awareness around domestic violence issues appears to be quite high. Among the community's biggest strengths is the willingness of various agencies to communicate and find new ways to collaborate. Like other small towns and rural communities, much of this communication derives from the smallness of the community and the ability of individuals to bridge bureaucratic distances through personal relationships and friendships. East Hawaii's CPS agency enjoys fairly good relationships with other agencies and organizations in the community, including the main battered women's services program.
But the main linkage that strengthens this agency's ability to identify and serve families affected by domestic violence is its relationship with the judiciary. Having a unified family court system can be a key feature in effectively serving families involved with violence and abuse. Within such a court system, all cases involving the members of a single family protective orders, divorce and custody issues, criminal offenses, juvenile justice issues are heard within the same court, strongly reducing the chances of the family facing conflicting orders that may jeopardize the safety of some of its members.
The family court's caseload and staffing in East Hawaii require that all criminal family cases be deflected to a different court, so their court system is only semi-unified. This limited degree of unification may be a more realistic model for communities considering unifying family court cases. One issue reflecting Hilo's experience is that while willingness on the part of CPS to acquire new knowledge and approaches for handling cases affected by domestic violence is very important, it is not sufficient to produce real change in standard case practice. CPS workers and their supervisors must have very specific tools and training around domestic violence in order to go about their work in new and creative ways.
Effectively serving these families, however, requires the effort of many services and agencies beyond CPS. Treatment services in the community at large, especially for CPS children exposed to domestic violence, are very limited in Hilo. One interesting question is whether or not CPS should devote limited resources to identifying families affected by domestic violence in its caseload, if the treatment resources needed to help these families are so limited.
Documenting need is certainly one important reason to do so. Better screening of domestic violence may also lead to cost savings in the long-run, if root problems are better addressed and recidivism reduced. This, in turn, may free funds up for more services. Like Hilo, many communities across the country are experiencing severe budget cuts. Options for better serving CPS families affected by domestic violence should include some relatively low-cost choices.
These might include soliciting a volunteer domestic violence expert to keep regularly scheduled hours at the local CPS office for case consultations. In communities with few private therapists able to treat children affected by domestic violence, CPS might want to encourage these professionals to offer group rather than individual sessions.
Of course, sharing training and planning activities with other service providers in the community, as Hilo is doing, is also very important. In summary, Hilo offers a number of interesting system features that other communities might want to consider: Furthermore, in addition to conducting a standard criminal history check on all incoming referrals, CPS's EICI unit cross-checks all adults in the household against a current list of active temporary restraining orders.
Massachusetts has three cities with over , people. An additional 8 percent were to teenage mothers. There is little racial diversity in Massachusetts: The black population includes many Haitians and Cape Verdeans. The unemployment rate in Massachusetts has been at or below the U. Eight percent of the population received federal public aid in , and AFDC recipients numbered , A Massachusetts Probation Department study reported that, each year, 43, children in the state are exposed to domestic violence.
Over 1, restraining orders are issued each week, more than half of which mention the presence of a child in the home. A defendant with a criminal history unrelated to domestic violence is twice as likely to violate a restraining order than someone with no prior arrest record. DSS is organized into six regional offices that oversee the daily operations of 26 area offices throughout the state.
Each area office is staffed with an area director, area program managers, supervisors, and social workers or case workers. Families come to DSS in one of three ways: In the department received about 59, reports of abuse or neglect. These reports identified some 97, children or an unduplicated number of approximately 65, children. Close to 60 percent of the 97, reported children were identified by DSS as needing a investigation, and of these 57, children, about half were found to have been victimized.
In , DSS supported investigations for 27, children, representing a 10 percent increase over the previous year. In July DSS was working on 21, open cases involving 73, children. The number of children in placement had increased slowly over the past few years reaching a total of 13, in Each area office divides its social work staff into units. All area offices have one or more units devoted to intake, investigation, assessment, and ongoing casework.
Some area offices also have separate units for adoption, family resources, adolescents, and sexual abuse. The intake unit screens cases as they come into the hotline. Once a case has been screened in, the investigation unit has 10 days to review it and make a determination emergency cases are investigated within two days.
JSTOR: Access Check
During this period, investigators may also run a CORI check the state's criminal justice information system on the children's parents. State law requires that caseloads remain at 18 cases per social worker. In practice, however, caseloads in many area offices exceed Child Welfare Agency Approach to Domestic Violence DSS began to recognize the overlap between domestic violence and child maltreatment in when the Office of Special Projects initiated formal meetings with battered women's organizations throughout the state. This effort stemmed from a federal Family Violence Prevention and Services grant that required DSS to demonstrate joint planning efforts with the domestic violence community.
These meetings with battered women's organizations revealed the strained relationship between DSS and domestic violence programs. From the DSS's perspective, battered women's shelters often ignored the needs of the children while emphasizing the mother's right to self-determination. From the shelters' perspective, DSS often revictimized battered women by forcing them to choose between their children and their partner and requiring them to receive social services.
The relationship between DSS and battered women's groups is further complicated by funding matters: Around the same time, some of the people who worked with the Child Protection Team at Boston Children's Hospital began to notice that battered women were refusing to disclose information about their children because they feared losing them to DSS. After learning how to work successfully with battered mothers to keep children out of placement, AWAKE advocates began planning a new approach for these families with DSS special projects staff. DSS was forced to take more immediate and agency-wide actions after a tragedy in which a child was killed by her mother's batterer.
DSS responded to this incident by piloting a revised set of intake and case practice guidelines which stated that domestic violence was a possible indication of child abuse. This policy, called Project Protect, was a step in the right direction, but was piloted without staff training on domestic violence or substance abuse. The effects of the policy were twofold. First, DSS experienced a dramatic increase in child abuse and neglect reports. In June , DSS had 22, families in its caseload. By June , the number of families had increased to 24, Second, anecdotal reports suggested that battered women had stopped seeking help from police, emergency rooms, and other places for fear of losing their children.
DSS soon formulated a smaller scale alternative to Project Protect. This alternative was an agency-wide domestic violence program. In DSS hired its first domestic violence advocate who is now the clinical supervisor in the Domestic Violence Unit to advise and consult with staff of the Family Life Center, DSS's intensive, short-term, home-based services model. The following year, interagency teams organized around the issue of domestic violence were piloted in two DSS area offices.
The political climate around the domestic violence issue further heated up in after a rash of domestic violence murders in the state. The Governor signaled the importance of the domestic violence issue by declaring a state of emergency. Battered women's service providers were involved in focus groups prior to drafting the standards, but the bid underscored the reality that DSS was the major funding source for battered women's programs in Massachusetts.
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This connection both hinders and helps collaborative efforts regarding case practice. Since , DSS's domestic violence initiative has concentrated on two areas: These are described in more detail below. The number of domestic violence advocates or specialists within DVU increased from four to six, to provide one specialist for each region in the state. After further expansion in , the staff now includes the director, who reports directly to the Deputy Commissioner for Quality Management and Program Development; a clinical supervisor; two coordinators responsible for the direct supervision of the specialists; and 11 specialists.
Each of the six regions now has two specialists, except the Central region, which has only one. To meet demand, the unit is hoping for an increase in funding so it can hire a specialist for each area office. The DVU's operating budget is supported through both state and federal funds. Forty percent of the unit's budget is from state funds and supports the salaries of 11 specialists and their supervisors they are not state employees, but are paid as consultants out of the state budget.
The remaining 60 percent of the budget comes from federal funds and pays for staffing, administration and training, batterer intervention services, visitation center services, children's evaluation services, and other battered women's services. Many of them were ready to move "beyond shelter work" and viewed the DSS initiative as an opportunity to work toward important systems change.
The need for these services and initiatives developed largely in response to the over-reliance on transient and often unsafe out-of-home care that characterized services in the s. As early as the Casey Family Programs  operated to provide and improve — and ultimately prevent the need for—foster care. In , New York was the first state to adopt the Interstate Compact on Placement of Children establishing procedures for the interstate placement of children. By , 44 states adopted laws making the reporting of crimes against children mandatory.
According to the National Association of Counsel for Children  , "reporting is recognized as the primary reason for the dramatic increases seen in cases of child abuse and neglect. The act provides states with funding for the investigation and prevention of child maltreatment, conditioned on states' adoption of mandatory reporting law. While awareness was being heightened about child maltreatment, the supply of babies available for adoption dwindled in the s as single parenthood became more accessible, birth control and pregnancy termination more readily available.
At the same time women in the West women began delaying childbirth longer and longer for education and career, creating increased infertility. This reversed the previous supply and demand, with up to 25 adopters vying for each child. Terminating parental rights most often results in the removal of children, often older children, sibling groups and children of substance abusers. They came to be known as "hard to place" because the growing infertile population sought to replicate a more natural family forming process and thus infants were more highly sought, but less available.
Today, there are half a million children in foster care in the United States. Of those, more than , have no prospect of being reunited with family and could be adopted. At the same time, the demand for healthy, preferably white infants continued and with fewer American-born babies being relinquished or removed by social services, private entrepreneurs stepped in using marketing techniques gleaned from previous employment as car parts salesman Arty Elgart of The Golden Cradle , and people skills learned as flight attendants adoption facilitator Ellen Roseman to procure babies to meet the demand.
The irrevocable rights of parents and the permanent removal and placement of children is arranged today by attorneys, physicians, and anyone who hangs out a shingle and calls their business an adoption agency. Adoption policy and procedure varies state to state but most states have no regulations requiring educational certification in the field of child welfare to arrange adoptions. Adoption agencies are licensed as any business.
Anne Babb, adoptive parent and author of Ethics in American Adoption  notes: The certified manicurist may not give facials; the certified hair stylist may not offer manicures …. The major cause for temporary care worldwide is poverty , not abuse , neglect or abandonment. Many others have been stolen, kidnapped or coerced from their families by black market baby brokers who sell them to orphanages who prefer to have them adopted internationally because it is more lucrative.
Children pass through so many hands before coming to the West—in a process adoptive father and child and family advocate David M. Smolin , Director, Center for Biotechnology, Law, and Ethics, Samford University, has identified as child laundering  —that the recipients have no way of verifying if the child they are adopting is in fact an orphan. Domestically too, expectant mothers are pressured, and coerced, often taken across state lines, isolated, and exploited at a very vulnerable time.
These mothers are also without resources and are given housing and medical care, but are pressured to 'voluntarily' sign papers relinquishing their parental rights or being held liable to repay those expense. For all of these reasons, there is a resurgence of and renewed commitment to family preservation. Many countries have stopped allowing children to be adopted internationally, and all have ratified the Hague Convention designed to put into action the principles regarding inter-country adoption which are contained in the Convention on the Rights of the Child CRC except the U.
The Hague seeks to insure that inter-country adoption does not result in improper financial gain for those involved in it. When it comes to child welfare, all interested parties say they want what is in the best interest of children. The debate stems from what programs actually are in the best interest of the children. Family preservation advocates believe that children are safest and they receive the best outcome when kept in the care of their parents. They support providing in home services for at risk families that range from financial help to parenting classes.
Proponents want to take the child out of the house and into the foster system so the child can eventually find permanent placement. They support that government financial aid goes toward foster care and placement programs. The most prominent debate over family preservation is child safety.
Opponents of family preservation believe that it leaves the child in danger by leaving them in the home. They use extreme cases, such as those reported in the media in an attempt to polarize child safety and family preservation.
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The National Coalition for Child Protection Reform NCCPR defines family preservation as a "systematic determination of those families in which children could remain in their homes or be returned home safely, and provision of the services needed to ensure that safety. Their studies were based on larger segments of the population and included control groups, leaving them much more reliable and generalizable than the horrific case studies used by opponents. IFPS is designed to prevent the removal of children from the home in cases of abuse or neglect. This study failed to randomly assign groups or provide services that were comparable to actual IFPS.
Kirk and Griffith examined this study and finding major flaws, re-examined the ability of IFPS themselves. They found that IFPS to be effective in reducing out of home placements when the model is comparable and the services are appropriately targeted. Family preservation advocates strive to protect children while empowering their families and communities. They believe that in most cases, children can best be protected by supporting their parents. The NCCPR remarks that poverty stricken families will not be able to receive the help they need under time limited assistance to care for their children, but once children are removed from the home, the foster care system may receive subsidies for an unlimited amount of time.
Pelton finds that problems associated with poverty are being seen as child abuse and neglect. This leads to a situation of blaming the parent, which in turn hinders the promotion of necessary help. As the poor lose their assistance, and in turn their children, the foster care system will become overloaded.
This reduces the resources per child by case workers to place them or safe homes to care for them. As the budget goes increasingly towards investigating claims and placement, little money will be left over for any relevant services to help keep children in homes. If foster homes become scarce, necessitating a greater use of group homes, children will be exposed to much higher rates of danger. The NCCPR reports ten times the rate of physical abuse and 28 times the rate of sexual abuse in group homes than in the general population.
These are significantly higher than the rates for foster care which are three times and twice as likely, respectively. Thieman and Dail found that low income and welfare recipients are not more likely to have a child removed from their home. This would discredit the idea that poverty alone endangers children.
If poverty alone does not endanger children, than giving the same resources a child would receive in foster care to the family would seem the better outcome. This would first eliminate the unnecessary drain on the foster care system. Those that need to be removed for safety reasons would have greater resources, giving them a better chance to find a home and be monitored closely.
Second, a child who does not enter the foster system is not affected by the possibility of the dangers existing in foster-care. And since only children considered safe are allowed to remain in the home, the proportion of endangered children will be decreased. Third, foster-care is the more expensive of the two options.
Also child well-being is higher when children are kept in the home. The NCCPR found that pregnancy, juvenile arrests and youth unemployment were lower, even when they did not receive IFPS, but only the lesser conventional help offered by child welfare agencies. So it would be cheaper, safer, more efficient on our foster-care system and better on the well-being of children if they remain in their natural home.
This is a very strong argument for family preservation advocates. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of eliminates entitlement, places a 5-year lifetime limit on TANF, mandates participation in the workforce, eliminates guaranteed childcare and places a family cap on welfare, which prevents children born after the families becoming dependent on welfare from receiving support. The Adoption and Safe Families Act of [ASFA] reaffirms the policy of permanency planning, creates exceptions to reasonable efforts to reunite families, mandates permanency hearings on a twelve-month basis, expedites termination, encourages concurrent planning for reuniting the family and finding an adoptive family, and offers a lot more money for children who are adopted.
These programs are supported by opponents of family preservation. This contradicts any claim that the best interest of children is their basis for the arguments. There is an abundance of evidence showing that remaining with the family is best for the child. These policies do not allow families the resources to provide for the basic needs of their children. This leaves two options. The children lack their basic necessities, or children are taken out of their homes. The failure of these policies to improve the lives of the children they claim to protect is its own counter argument.
It shows that family breakup fails. The failure of family breakup was actually used as an argument against family preservation. Legislators actually passed ASFA as a response to the increasing number of children in foster care. They blamed the increasing number of children in care and their increasing lengths of stay on "extraordinary efforts" of family preservationists to reunify families.
They claimed that family preservationists misinterpreted the idea of reasonable efforts to reuniting families as reuniting at all costs, claiming they put children in unnecessary danger. They believed that ASFA emphasized child protection above child preservation. Family preservation has an abundance of evidence that it works, when implemented properly. The problem is family preservation is improperly defined by legislature who oppose it. IFPS are proactive rather than reactive. Advocates of family preservation do not support the use of foster-care as holding places for children while their families try to help themselves.
They do not condone children living in foster-care in the first place when their parents can be helped, granted that children are not put in danger.
IFPS intervene early and prevent child placement in foster-care when possible. As the first premise in their argument is proven false, their overall argument loses validity. In reality the increased number of children in foster care is due to family breakup.