“ They ’ re not my favourite people ” : What mothers who have experienced intimate partner violence say about involvement in the child welfare system. Child Welfare: Children ’ s Best Interests. Controversy about the role of CPS in families where IPV is occurring
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“They’re not my favourite people”: What mothers who have experienced intimate partner violence say about involvement in the child welfare system
Controversy about the role of CPS in families where IPV is occurring
Some are critical of interventions that remove children from non-abusing parents
Others are critical when investigation focuses only on safety of children and not harm to parents
Should intimate partner violence be a concern that is addressed by child welfare systems?
Jones, 2010; Rivett & Kelly, 2006
Substantiation of IPV– 34% of substantiated cases involved exposure to IPV (Black et al., 2008) and 43% of cases (Jones, 2010) and 14% of families investigated (Kohl, et al., 2005)
Referral for services and out of home placement often involve many other co-occurring problems (i.e. substance abuse, mental and physical health problems, criminal activity)
IPV substantiated, documented, and perceived as elevating risk, but service plans do not address DV directly, which may lead to future crises and referral
Antle, Barbee, Sullivan, Yankeelov, Johnson, & Cunningham, 2007; Black, Trocme, Fallon, & MacLaurin, 2008; Hazen, Connelly, Kelleher, Landsverk, & Barth, 2004; Jones, 2010; Kohl, Edleson, English, Barth, 2005; Kohl & Macy, 2008
Case files and interviews with child welfare workers:
Two approaches – 1) minimization (i.e. not a child welfare concern) or 2) intrusive confrontation (i.e. removal in a minority of severe situations) (Humphreys, 1999)
Focus on the impact of IPV on child functioning
Primary response is to ask non-abusing parent to protect the child – ask to leave partner (Bourassa et al., 2008; Humphreys, 1999; Jones, 2010)
Helpful responses – safety planning, seeking of protection orders and aid in obtaining resources (i.e. childcare and housing)
Bourassa, Lavergne, Damant, Lessard, & Turcotte, 2008; Humphreys, 1999; Jones, 2010; Rivet & Kelly, 2006; Shepherds & Raschick, 1999; Shim & Haight, 2006.
Felt unfairly blamed for the partners’ violence, focus on them as neglectful mothers, referral to multiple services and some that are inappropriate, and once in care concerns about their children’s well-being were dismissed
Helpful: listening, validation, and support, providing information about children, offering concrete services (i.e. housing), advocacy with other services (i.e. police), holding the abuser accountable, and placing children with trusted family and friends
Focus group with 19 Mexican immigrant mothers in New York: additional risk of cultural differences and access to services may be limited by women’s immigration status (Earner, 2010)
Alaggia, Jenney, Mazzuca, & Redmond, 2007; Earner, 2010; Johnson & Sullivan, 2008; Shim & Haight, 2006
Examine the interactions that occur between women who have experienced IPV and the Canadian child welfare system
Asked women to tell their stories of involvement in the Child Protection System
Follow-up questions to capture the temporal order of events, the reason for first and subsequent CP involvement, the interventions offered, and if women experienced their involvement as effective and helpful
IPV was a part of all women’s stories, which also included substance abuse and mental health issues
Some women reported that “nobody wanted to listen:”
“And I went to her and I had a big black eye and they asked me where I got it. I had to lie to them because he was standing right there, I never said nothing or else. When I went by myself once, the worker goes, I know that black eye you had wasn’t from somebody else, I know it was from [the partner]. Are you scared to be there? I said, no, when the kids are around like he’s not so bad” (woman 42MB).