Such protocols should be developed between child welfare systems and schools, health care, mental health, substance abuse treatment, law enforcement, prosecutors, and the courts. These documents should be developed in conjunction with domestic violence service providers, and should include mechanisms for implementation, review, and enforcement.
c.Child welfare workers should help develop and participate in domestic violence response teams, similar to child sexual assault teams.
Where they exist, child sexual assault teams have proven to be an asset in responding to the needs of both the child victim and the non-abusing parent. They offer an advantage in the investigative process, as well as in the supportive elements of case planning. Similar response teams patterned after this model can be developed for intervention in domestic violence cases.
d.Initial and ongoing assessments for adult domestic violence should be conducted with all potential foster and adoptive parents and, if domestic violence is identified, these families should not be used as a child placement option. Further, the adult victim should be provided, at a minimum, with information about local domestic violence services and the statewide domestic violence hotline number.
Protocols should be developed regarding proper procedures to follow if domestic violence is identified. A denial of eligibility for a foster/adoptive family on the basis of domestic violence may precipitate an escalation of an abuser's violence and coercion, increasing the victim's danger. A protocol should include provisions for the safety of the adult victim. For example, the family should not be notified of being denied until the adult victim is provided with information on local domestic violence services, a local or the statewide domestic violence hotline number, and an opportunity to develop and enact a safety plan, if needed.
Conducting ongoing assessments are the best way to accurately identify if domestic violence is occurring. It is possible that domestic violence will not be identified in an initial screening, but will be recognized or exposed after a child placement has already occurred. In these cases, child welfare workers should follow the recommended guidelines outlined in this policy for intervening with the family.
e.Child welfare agencies and individual workers should serve as primary advocates with courts, law guardians, and county attorneys for cases in which adult domestic violence and child abuse coexist.