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December/January 2023Vol. 23, No. 10Child Welfare and Domestic Violence: The Report on Intersection and Action

A report from the Pritzker Center for Strengthening Children and Families focuses on the dilemma faced by a parent who is a survivor of domestic violence (DV) and is losing custody of their child due to an isolated DV incident. Removing children from their homes and placing them in foster care as a result of DV can create further trauma for both the DV survivor and the children. While the report focuses on Los Angeles County, many counties and states have similar dependency laws.

The report reviews current literature and efforts to address this issue. It also highlights approaches from other jurisdictions and provides recommendations for training, enhanced specialization, and reform within the child welfare system.

The report suggests that training should be expanded beyond just learning about how to recognize signs of domestic violence to also include information about the power and control dynamics within DV relationships and the effects of that trauma. It also recommends that all mandated reporters engage in a baseline training about DV.

The report also makes the following other recommendations for Los Angeles County and California that may be applicable in other jurisdictions:

  • Child welfare agencies should establish partnerships with DV organizations, such as the placement of a DV specialist in the agency.
  • States should include parent and child survivors of DV as eligible candidates for Family First Prevention Services Act funding and submit DV-related programs to the Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse for review.
  • Counties can pilot a specialized DV dependency court track.
  • States should adjust their statutes to consider additional circumstances for DV as contributing factors to a parental deficiencies.
  • Child welfare agencies should ensure services are targeted, nuanced, and accessible to families.

Read Child Welfare and Domestic Violence: The Report on Intersection and Action to learn more.