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Exploring Reasonable Efforts in Child Welfare Cases that Include Domestic Violence in Princeton, West Virginia

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2013
19 pages
This study examined how child abuse and neglect cases with co-occurring domestic violence (DV) are treated in the family court of Princeton, WV, as well as whether this treatment differs from cases without domestic violence.
The study found that efforts are being made to hold DV perpetrators accountable and minimize DV victim blaming in such cases. Child abuse and neglect cases with co-occurring DV were more likely to be in the father's name than non-DV cases. Primary allegations against the mother were significantly less common in DV cases. Petitions identified the perpetrator in 100 percent of DV cases. Despite having the opportunity to co-petition, only two mothers did so in DV cases. Presenting problems and service referrals differed in DV and non-DV cases. Substance abuse was more often identified as a presenting problem for mothers in non-DV cases, than for mothers in DV cases. Mothers in non-DV cases were more likely to be referred for substance abuse services. Fathers in DV cases were more likely to receive referrals for parenting classes and psychological evaluations. There was little documentation of DV-specific service referrals. There was no evidence that DV victim advocates were involved in cases with co-occurring DV or were present at any of the hearings. Reunification was more common in DV cases than in non-DV cases. The authors caution that these findings are based on a limited sample, and not all initial study objectives could be achieved due to lack of case information. Using a structured case file review instrument, researchers examined 20 cases of child abuse and neglect with DV and comparison cases with no indication of DV. Information collected included petition language regarding DV, specific allegations, court orders, reasonable efforts, and services to all parties. 7 figures and 3 tables

Date Published: October 1, 2013