Saturday, 15 January 2005 - 10:00 AM
This presentation is part of: Domestic Violence and Child Welfare
Struggling with Partner Violence and Child Maltreatment: Implications for Targeted Child Welfare Policy and PracticePatricia Kohl, MSW, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Rebecca J. Macy, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Purpose: Although research shows that intimate partner violence (IPV) and child maltreatment are frequently co-occurring problems, research also indicates that partner violence is under identified in families who are involved with child welfare services for child maltreatment. Thus little is known about families, involved with child welfare services, who are struggling with both partner violence and child maltreatment. This serious knowledge gap makes the development of effective child welfare policy and practices for co-occurring child maltreatment and IPV difficult. Using a risk and protective factors framework, this study seeks to examine patterns of needs among families where child maltreatment and IPV co-occur to help develop comprehensive yet targeted policies and practice interventions.
Methods: This investigation analyzed data from in-home caregivers included in the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being (NSCAW) (n=3,586). Using well-evaluated measures, NSCAW is a national probability sample of families investigated for child maltreatment, which includes families regardless of the outcome of the investigation allowing for a range of families with and without IPV and substantiated child maltreatment. This investigation examined well-established correlates of family violence, including alcohol and drug dependence, social support, legal difficulties, history of childhood abuse and neglect, and socioeconomic level in conjunction with the Conflict Tactics Scale to determine: (1) how families with co-occurring child maltreatment and IPV differ from families with only child maltreatment and (2) how IPV relates to psychosocial needs among families where IPV and maltreatment co-occur.
Results: Descriptive statistics, chi-squares, and correlation analyses were used to examine patterns of risk in families with IPV and child maltreatment. Consistent with prior research, results indicated that child maltreatment and IPV were often co-occurring problems. Nearly a third of caregivers (30%) reported IPV within the previous 12 months. Co-occurring families differ significantly from maltreatment-only families on substance abuse by the IPV survivor (p < .05) and perpetrator (p < .01), recent arrest (p < .05); and survivorís own abuse history (p < .05). Results also indicated that the co-occurrence of IPV and child maltreatment is strongly related to other psychosocial difficulties. For example, IPV is strongly related to IPV perpetrator substance dependence and abuse (p<.01), IPV survivor substance dependence (p < .001), survivor arrest and legal difficulties (p<.05), survivorís own childhood history of abuse and neglect (p < .001), and family socioeconomic difficulties (p <.05).
Implications: These results show that families receiving child welfare services and families undergoing investigations of child maltreatment where IPV is also present likely have problems that are multidimensional. The first step in the development of effective policy and practice interventions is a comprehensive empirical analysis of the needs of these families. Findings from these analyses suggest that there are striking patterns of risk among these families. Group profiles, which can be used to develop matching intervention strategies, will be presented. Specific ideas for targeted policy and practices will be discussed.
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