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May 2005Vol. 6, No. 4When Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment Co-Occur

When families experience child maltreatment and domestic violence, child welfare agencies, domestic violence service providers, and dependency courts typically respond to individual victims in isolation. The Greenbook initiative, however, provides communities with guidelines and recommendations that focus on collaboration among these three entities to address these problems in a systemic way.

Federal funding was provided to six communities to implement the Greenbook recommendations. Now at the halfway point of the 5-year funding cycle, the Greenbook National Evaluation Team has published an interim report on the demonstration initiative. The participating communities have identified activities that both promote collaboration among agencies and treat the entire family, not just individual victims. These include:

  • Strengthening collaborations through activities such as cross-training
  • Identifying co-occurring issues
  • Sharing information among agencies and courts
  • Ensuring batterer accountability
  • Improving access to services, including multidisciplinary case planning
  • Improving advocacy, including co-located advocates in multiple systems

Interim results showed that systems changes were occurring in several areas. For instance, child welfare agencies were beginning to implement new screening procedures that allowed them to screen for domestic violence. To further their advocacy efforts, some communities had begun to work on changing State-level policies. Overall, staff at all levels reported that the changes had raised community awareness about child maltreatment and domestic violence, and staff were beginning to think about their cases in the context of all family members and all family strengths and needs.

The next phase of the project will focus on quantitative evaluations to determine system changes. It is expected that such changes will result in improved safety and well-being for children and families.

The full interim report, The Greenbook Demonstation Initiative: Interim Evaluation Report, was prepared by the Greenbook National Evaluation Team (Caliber Associates, Education Development Center, Inc., and the National Center for State Courts) and funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Justice. The report is available at (PDF 2.36 MB).