Children of Domestic Violence: How can states help them?

Brought to you by Domestic violence Houston lawyer Mark Correro State Wide Focus Massachusetts was the first state to place domestic violence advocates in child welfare offices in 1990. The state made domestic violence training mandatory for new social staff. More funding gived services for battered women and children. The Department of Social Services then closed cases with positive outcomes faster. But funding shortfalls related to the economy have cut the number of advocates from 14 to five. Michigan added family reunification staff to give intensive home-based services for four to six weeks. The state placed 18 staff in different shelters to work with abused women and help them advance safety plans. The long-term success rates, defined as families remaining intact at 12 months following their services, were 85 percent for those getting home-based services and 96 percent for those in shelters. Coordination The federal government paid for six counties across the country to integrate their domestic violence intervention and child maltreatment prevention services over a seven-year period. The Greenbook Demonstration Project improved identification of domestic violence, improved training for child welfare staff and increased referrals for service. The project brought together criminal courts, batterer groups, state child protection offices, domestic violence groups, law enforcement, probation, parole and substance-abuse givers. Specialized Programs The University of California, San Francisco runs a Child Trauma Research Program that offers assessment and treatment to children through age 5 who experience domestic violence or other trauma. The center offers one year of joint child-parent therapy. Services are offered in several languages. The Boston Medical Center runs a counseling, advocacy and outreach effort focusing on young children who are exposed to domestic violence or other traumatic events. The Child Witness to Violence Project encourages communities to plan, advance and sustain a coordinated system of prevention, intervention, treatment and follow-through. Staff members include social staff, psychologists, early-childhood specialists, a consulting pediatrician and consulting lawyer. WITH POLICE-PLUS ATTENTION Yale University Medical Center and the New Haven Police Department teamed up in 1992 to conduct follow-up home appointments after initial domestic violence police calls. The project helps with safety planning, law enforcement, connecting families to services and increasing parents' awareness of children's needs. A recent study indicated that women who got the home visit felt more respected and helped and were more likely to call police for nonphysical quarrels such as a protection order violation. They also were more likely to get treatment for their children. Pregnancy Services The National Institute of Nursing Research has funded two home-visit programs (Missouri and in Baltimore) run by nurses for pregnant women at risk for domestic violence. The study, now in its fifth year, is a collaboration between Johns Hopkins University, the Baltimore City Health Department, the University of Missouri and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Enrolled women (up to 360 total) get multiple prenatal and postpartum appointments up until their children turn 2. Home visitors (who come as many times as needed) help the women analyze the degree of their danger and plan for safety and are told how violence will affect their children. Education The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advocates universal school-based violence-prevention programs offered to learners in prekindergarten through high school, regardless of prior violence or risk. The CDC analyzed 53 studies and found, for all grades combined, a 15 percent median relative reduction in violent behavior among learners who got the training. Violence among high school learners was reduced by nearly a third. Continue reading "Children of Domestic Violence: How can states help them?"

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