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September/October 2016Vol. 17, No. 7Collaboration in Domestic Violence Dependency Cases

Dependency proceedings involving child maltreatment and domestic violence can be complicated and involve several parties, including child welfare agencies, the courts, and domestic violence organizations. Collaboration among all the professionals working with affected families is key to ensuring all family members' needs are met and voices are heard. A recent issue of the Synergy newsletter, published in May of this year, addresses the importance of collaboration among child welfare agencies, the courts, and domestic violence organizations in working toward positive outcomes for children and families affected by domestic violence.

Produced by the Resource Center on Domestic Violence, a project of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ), the issue highlights an initiative for encouraging collaboration among the systems involved in cases of co-occurring child maltreatment and domestic violence. The U.S. Departments of Justice and of Health and Human Services funded six demonstration sites from 2000 to 2007 to implement policy recommendations delineated in NCJFCJ's Effective Intervention in Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment Cases: Guidelines for Policy and Practice, also known as the Greenbook. The issue shares the top 10 lessons learned by the Greenbook demonstration sites, which include the following:

  • Collaboration is not an outcome in and of itself, but rather a potential strategy for improving results for families.
  • Successful multisystem collaborations require clarity and structure (e.g., adopting a shared leadership model with at least one leader from each discipline).
  • Open and ongoing communication is essential.
  • A one-size-fits-all approach is not effective in child maltreatment cases involving domestic violence—services should be tailored to meet the unique needs of the family.

Other articles in the issue include a discussion on the domestic violence provisions found in the 2010 Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), interviews with leaders of State collaboration initiatives, and a spotlight on evidence-based approaches to community collaboration.

Access Synergy, 19(2), on the NCJFCJ website at