Reasonable Efforts in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases that Involve Domestic Violence

June 18, 2014

Researchers and professionals in the field have known for years that domestic violence and child maltreatment often co-occur in families. The extent to which this happens is hard to estimate, with early studies indicating overlaps ranging from 30% to 60%. When domestic violence is identified in a juvenile dependency case, it is important that judges respond in a way that holds the perpetrator of the violence accountable, keeps the victim and children safe, and helps to prevent future violence.

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) recognizes the challenges inherent to the intersection of child maltreatment and domestic violence. In 1999, the NCJFCJ published Effective Interventions in Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment Cases: Guidelines for Policy and Practice (otherwise known as the Greenbook), which provides guiding framework for communities faced with co-occurrence of domestic violence and child maltreatment. Subsequently the NCJFCJ developed the Reasonable Efforts Checklist for Dependency Cases Involving Domestic Violence and the Checklist to Promote Perpetrator Accountability in Dependency Cases Involving Domestic Violence.

This Technical Assistance Bulletin (TAB) reports on additional steps the NCJFCJ has taken to further explore this complex issue. The TAB includes findings from case file reviews in three jurisdictions that explore how cases with overlapping domestic violence are treated in comparison to dependency cases without domestic violence, identifies themes that emerged from court stakeholder teams that attended a domestic violence and child maltreatment co-occurrence mini-conference, and provides recommendations to the field of how to enhance practice when there is a co-occurrence of domestic violence and child maltreatment.