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Child Welfare & Child Protection

It is estimated that there are 3.3 to 10 million children who witness the abuse of a parent or adult care giver each year. A majority of the studies done on the co-occurrence of domestic violence and child maltreatment reveal that there are adult and child victims in 30 to 60 percent of families experiencing domestic violence. This co-occurrence has compelled child welfare and domestic violence programs across the nation to re-evaluate their services and interventions with families experiencing both forms of abuse. The Child Protection Investigations (CPI) Project represents a collaborative effort between the Department of Children and Families (DCF), the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), local certified domestic violence centers, community-based care agencies, and other child welfare professionals that provide an optimal coordinated community response to families experiencing the co-occurrence of domestic violence and child abuse. The ultimate goal of the CPI project is to bridge the gap between child welfare and domestic violence service providers to enhance family safety, create permanency for children, reduce removals of children from non-offending parents, and hold batterers accountable.

The co-located advocates work from an empowerment-based philosophy and are skilled at identifying strengths. Advocates’ expertise in this area assists survivors of domestic violence/non-offending parents to increase protective factors already existing in the home. The co-located advocates assist Child Protective Investigators (CPIs) and case managers in clearly identifying batterers’ patterns of coercive control, gathering information to address harmful batterer behaviors, and assess the impact of that behavior on the children. Domestic violence experts widely agree that positive family outcomes are more likely to occur when child welfare workers partner with the non-offending parent in their efforts to protect the children while holding the batterer accountable.

In 2015, the Legislature to expand the CPI Project to all 67 counties in Florida. There are currently a total of 40 certified domestic violence centers that participate in the CPI Project. DVP has supports certified domestic violence center and their partnering CPI Unit, to develop best practices in the interest of children and families.

Safe and Together Model

The Safe and Together Model is a field-tested approach to helping child welfare and its partners in making good decisions for children impacted by domestic violence perpetrators. Drawing on his more than two decades worth of experience in the field, David Mandel developed the model to help child welfare professionals improve competencies in working with families impacted by domestic violence. Being used in over 10 states, the Safe and Together Model consists of a set of assumptions, principles and critical components that when utilized in domestic violence cases, help to improve identification, assessment, documentation, case-planning, decision making, and cross systems collaboration and communication. The Department of Children & Families (DCF) partnered with David Mandel & Associates to provide training & technical assistance to child welfare professionals and domestic violence advocates throughout the state.

For more information on the Safe and Together Model, go to www.endingviolence.com

Batterer Accountability In Child Welfare

The principle of batterer accountability suggests that domestic violence perpetrators, not their victims, should be held responsible for the effects of their actions on their children. It is important that child welfare workers not only engage domestic violence perpetrators in the process but also place the responsibility of ending the violence on them as well.

  • Batterer Accountability Wheel (PDF)

    This wheel begins to demonstrate the ideal community response to the issue of domestic violence. Community opinion, which strongly states that battering is unacceptable, leads all of our social institutions to expect full accountability from the batterer by applying appropriate consequences. (Developed by Domestic Violence Institute of Michigan; Adapted from Power & Control Equality Wheels developed by Domestic Abuse Intervention Project)

  • Achieving Batterer Accountability in the Child Protection System (PDF)

    While much has been written about domestic violence and child protection reform efforts, no one has asked why attempts to hold batterers accountable have been so unsuccessful or proposed alternative methods to hold perpetrators responsible for their actions. In this article, Leigh Goodmark (University of Maryland Francis King Carey School Of Law) answers that question and proposes alternatives to reflexively turning to the legal system. (Kentucky Law Journal, Vol. 93, No. 3, 2004-05)

  • Interviewing Perpetrators: Effective Responses

    This document gives suggested responses to perpetrator statements that help the interviewer to avoid collusion and remain focused on the perpetrator’s behavioral choices and their connection to child safety and well-being and the impact of the perpetrator’s behaviors on children. (David Mandel & Associates, 2012)

  • Menu of Expectations for Batterers in Child Protection Cases(PDF)

    This document is useful in safety planning and case planning with domestic violence perpetrators and achieving perpetrator accountability. It also gives examples of expectations from batterers, the purpose of the expectation, and the success of the expectation. (Non-Violence Alliance, 2003)

  • Non-Violent Action Plan (English) / Spanish / Creole (PDF)

    (Also called Perpetrator Safety Plan) Adapted from Menu of Expectations for Batterers in Child Protection Cases and is utilized by many co-located domestic violence advocates in Florida. This tool can be used as a stand-alone safety plan for domestic violence perpetrators or as a tool for safety planning and case planning with domestic perpetrators. The Non-Violent Action Plan is available in English, Spanish, and Creole. (DCF Domestic Violence Program)

  • Differences Between Anger Management and Batterer Intervention Programs(PDF)

    This document outlines the differences between Anger Management and Batterer Intervention Programs (BIP) and why Anger Management is not appropriate for batterers. (Allies in Change Counseling Center, 2000)

  • Nine Ways to Collude with Abusive Men(PDF)

    This list reflects some of the most common mistaken beliefs about abusers and their violence. (Non-Violence Alliance, 1999)

  • Examples of Actions Batterers Take to Harm Children(PDF)

    This handout can be used to inform child welfare safety plans and case plans and improve assessment related to the adverse impact of the perpetrator’s violence on children. (David Mandel & Associates, 2010)

  • Checklist to Promote Perpetrator Accountability(PDF)

    This publication was created to help dependency judges intervene with those who use violence in ways that promote accountability and maximize the safety and well-being of children and victim parents. It provides as framework to help the court leverage its authority to hold perpetrators accountable, provide appropriate services, and improve judicial decision-making. (National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, 2011)