Balancing Interests and Monitoring Performance: Encouraging Systemic Change to Serve Victims of Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment

Martha Wade Steketee, National Center for State Courts
Richard G. Wright, Education Development Center
Lynn S. Levey, National Center for State Courts
Taj C. Carson, Caliber Associates
Shelly Jackson, National Institute of Justice
Marylouise Kelley, U.S. Department of Justice

How can child protection services work together with domestic violence service providers to enhance the safety of multiple victims in violent homes? How can courts protect children when their mothers are being battered without re-victimizing the mother? How can communities protect battered mothers and their children and hold batterers accountable for their violence? These issues have been challenging local courts and service providers for decades, and led to the development and release of a 1999 report, Effective Intervention in Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment Cases: Guidelines for Policy and Practice, which provides principles and recommendations to guide interventions for battered women and their children who may be involved with three systems -- child welfare agencies, domestic violence service providers, and dependency courts. The national evaluation of an initiative to implement these guidelines is underway, with goals including: increasing our understanding of the mechanisms by which system change is implemented and can bring about change at the family and individual levels, and building site commitment and capacity to use data to monitor and improve performance. This paper will address the evaluation strategy and progress in the initiative's first six months.

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Updated 05/20/2006