Domestic Violence & Child Welfare


  • Facing Violence at Home
    Witnessing violence harms children, and children often enter foster care because of violence at home; however, facing and ending violence can be complicated. In this issue of Rise magazine, parents explore partner violence – the controlling patterns of batterers, the fights that flare up under stress, and the aggression driven by mental illness or substance abuse – and describe the steps they took to get violence out of their lives. Rise magazine is written by and for parents involved in the child welfare system. (Winter 2013)
  • Child Witnesses to Domestic Violence
    Published by the Child Welfare Information Gateway, this factsheet discusses laws that extend legal protection to children who may be harmed by witnessing acts of domestic violence in their homes.  It examines circumstances that constitute witnessing domestic violence, explores the legal consequences for individuals who commit domestic violence, and provides summaries of laws for all States and U.S. territories. This publication is current through November 2012. (2013)

  • Children and Domestic Violence Fact Sheet Series
    The National Child Traumatic Stress Network Violence Collaborative Group published a series of 10 fact sheets created for parents whose children have been affected by domestic violence.  These fact sheets get to the heart of the experiences and needs of these children and families, and offers education in support of their resilience and recovery.  The series includes the following factsheets (2013):

    • How does domestic Violence Affect Children?
    • Celebrating your Child’s Strengths
    • Before you talk to your Children: How your feelings Matter
    • Listening and Talking to Your Child About Domestic Violence
    • The Importance of Playing with Your Children
    • Keeping Your Children Safe and Responding to Their Fears
    • Managing Challenging Behavior of Children Living with Domestic Violence
    • Where to Turn If You Are Worried About Your Child
    • Helping your Child Navigate a Relationship with the Abusive Parent
    • A Parent’s Self-Care and Self-Reflection

  • Safe Start Center Toolkit: Children’s Exposure to Violence
    Millions of children are exposed to violence in their schools, homes and communities every year. This Toolkit from the Safe Start Center includes the following sections: Tips for Teachers; Tips for Agencies and Staff Working with Youth; Tips for Early Childhood Providers; Tips for Agencies Working with Immigrant Families; Healing Invisible Wounds: Children’s Exposure to Violence; Issue Brief 1: Understanding Children’s Exposure to Violence; Issue Brief 3: Schools; Child and Youth Victimization Known to Police, School, and Medical Authorities. (2012)

  • Child Witnesses to Domestic Violence: Summary of State Laws
    This document from the Child Welfare Information Gateway discusses legal measures to protect children who may be harmed by witnessing acts of domestic violence in their homes. Summaries of laws for all States and US territories are included.

  • Children and Domestic Violence
    This bulletin from the Child Welfare Information Gateway addresses the impact of domestic violence on children and the resulting implications on professional practice. Resources such as websites and additional publications are also provided for further information.

  • Children and Domestic Violence Toolbox
    This site from the Family Violence Prevention Fund contains a toolbox on children and domestic violence, including guidelines for conducting family team conferences in domestic violence cases. The Guidelines are meant to assist workers in ensuring that the safety of all family members is addressed in a supportive and empowering manner throughout the process of the FTCs.

  • Children Exposed to Intimate Partner Violence
    This information packet from the National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women has a focus on discussion of key issues associated with children's exposure to intimate partner violence, and includes a fact sheet, statistics, and extensive resource lists including a fully-annotated bibliography.

  • Connect: Helping Caregivers Talk to Kids about Violence Against Women
    This mini-magazine from the Family Violence Prevention Fund for foster parents and kin provides information on meeting the needs of children who have been exposed to domestic violence and are in the child welfare system.

  • Creating Safety and Stability for Children Exposed to Family Violence: A Working Paper for Family to Family Sites
    Child abuse and domestic violence often co-occur in families, and such data has led child welfare programs to re-evaluate service delivery protocols for families. This article reviews “Family to Family” grantee experiences and offers guidance on how to better serve families in the child welfare system facing domestic violence issues.

  • Safeguarding Everyone in the Family: Family Group Conferences and Family Violence
    This issue of the New Zealand journal Social Work Now is devoted to family violence, including articles on the use of family group conferencing in such cases, strengthening relationships between mothers and children, cultural context, power and control, and violence against social workers.

  • Understanding What Children Say About Living With Domestic Violence, Parental Substance Misuse or Parental Health Problems
    This literature review finds that children facing a range of domestic circumstances which they might find difficult want to talk about these issues but rarely do so, particularly with professionals.

  • Healing the Invisible Wounds: Children’s Exposure to Violence
    Healing the Invisible Wounds: Children's Exposure to Violence is a resource to help parents and other caregivers understand the potential impact of exposure to violence on the development of their children. It provides practical suggestions for supporting the healing process. Recommended strategies are tailored to children based on age (birth to 6, 7 to 11, and 12 to 18) and are easily integrated into every day interactions. The booklet is available in English and Spanish and can be downloaded from the Safe Start Center website.

Resources from the States

  • Georgia: Family Violence Curriculum
    Training materials from the Georgia Division of Family & Children Services.

  • Illinois: Helping St. Louis County Families: A Guide for Court Professionals on the Co-Occurrence of Domestic Violence and Child Abuse/Neglect
    While best practices in co-occurrence cases are continuing to emerge, this Guide has been developed to offer a common framework from which court professionals are to operate and emphasize a commitment of linking adult and child safety and focusing on batterer accountability. The Guide is primarily for judges and attorneys (parent attorneys, guardians ad litem, and legal department attorneys), and also offers guidance to court deputy juvenile officers (DJOs), court appointed child advocates (CASAs), and allied professionals. The overall goal is to build internal capacity to respond effectively to families grappling with domestic violence and child abuse by assisting court professionals in their approach and handling of co-occurrence issues and highlighting the complexities of these cases.

  • Massachusetts: Working with Families: Child Welfare and Domestic Violence The purposes of this Promising Approaches document from the Massachusetts Department of Children & Families, Domestic Violence Unit are (1) to provide a framework for mandated reporters to create family centered approaches when domestic violence is identified and (2) to offer guidelines to assist mandated reporters to assess, accurately and sympathetically, the impact of domestic violence on children and their families. (2009)
  • New Hampshire: Co-Occurrence of Child Abuse/Neglect and Domestic Violence: Guide for New Hampshire Court Appointed Special Advocates
    This Guide is intended to be a starting point to better acquaint CASA/GAL volunteers with the issues that surround the intersection of domestic violence and child abuse.

  • Wisconsin: Safe Exchange & Supervised Visitation Guidelines
    The Wisconsin Safe Exchange and Visitation Project was initiated by Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance and funded through the Federal Violence Against Women Act Safe Havens initiative. Its purposes are to assess status of SEV services available to families experiencing domestic violence and/or sexual abuse; develop guidelines for developing and sustaining new SEV services Statewide; and develop a sustainable network that provides technical assistance and support to SEV services providers.


  • Consequences of Childhood Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence: Final Technical Report
    This project was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Justice, Office of JusticePrograms, U.S. Department of Justice. Points of view in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

  • Female Caregivers' Experiences with Intimate Partner Violence and Behavior Problems in Children Investigated as Victims of Maltreatmen
    This study from Pediatrics, the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, adds to the evidence that maternal caregivers' experiences with intimate partner violence are related to child functioning. The findings suggest that systematic efforts are needed to ensure that mental health needs are identified and addressed appropriately in children exposed to this violence.

  • Little Eyes, Little Ears: How Violence Against a Mother Shapes Children as They Grow
    This resource from the Centre for Children and Families in the Justice System (Canada) draws together information from the latest research for professionals and volunteers who help women and children. Topics addressed include what children might feel, think and do during violent incidents against their mothers, roles they might adopt before, during or after incidents, strategies of coping and survival, and how violence may be experienced by children of different ages, from infancy to adolescence. The purpose is to examine how violence against a mother can shape a child.

Trainings and Training Curricula

  • The Emotional Effects of Domestic Violence on Children
    The National Children's Advocacy Center offers free online training through their website. This presentation explores the effects on both children and the family. Included in this presentation are attachment issues, the impact of trauma, and how mental, emotional, and intellectual development can be affected. Because many of these children are also victims of direct child abuse, the presenter discusses neglect, physical and emotional abuse, and how this unstable and unhealthy environment impacts a child. Issues of treatment and therapeutic techniques will also be included in this presentation.

  • The Intersection of Domestic Violence and Child Victimization: Understanding the Issues, Developing a Coordinated Community Response: An Online Tutorial for Domestic Violence Advocates and Their Communities
    This online tutorial from the Institute for Family Violence Studies is designed to train domestic violence advocates and community educators. It contains a basic curriculum on the intersection of domestic violence and child maltreatment, and the effects of domestic violence on children. There is a focus on rural communities.

  • Assessing Children’s Exposure to Domestic Violence
    This free online training module is available through the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare at the University of Minnesota. This training, comprised of two sections, is an introduction to the importance of assessment interviews with children exposed to domestic violence. The goals of doing a comprehensive assessment are reviewed and tools are provided for developing questions used in an assessment. The option of earning Continuing Education Hours is available – this requires a processing fee. (2009)
  • Domestic Violence in the Lives of Children
    This free online training module is available through the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare at the University of Minnesota. The training addresses the impact of adult-to-adult domestic violence on the lives of children. It will detail how children are exposed to domestic violence and will discuss current research findings. The module can be viewed alone, but it can also be viewed as the first of several modules on children and domestic violence which are included on this site. The option of earning Continuing Education Hours is available – this requires a processing fee. (2009)

NRCPFC Information Packet

Teleconferences, Webcasts, & Webinars

  • Assessing and Intervening in the Home with Victims of Intimate Partner Violence
    In this webinar by the National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center, experts in the field of intimate partner violence discussed best practices for integrating intimate partner violence screening and intervention practices with home visiting services. Special attention was paid to increasing practitioner safety when there is violence in the home, as well as navigating assessment and intervention when the perpetrator is present. (2011)


  • Domestic Violence and Child Abuse
    This bibliography from the Children and Family Research Center lists 150 references that address co-occurring domestic abuse and child abuse, child exposure to domestic violence, child protection and battered women services, intervention strategies for children exposed to domestic violence, intergenerational rates of child sexual abuse, community programs for domestic violence and child abuse, the relationship between exposure to violence and later aggression, barriers to domestic violence screening in child protective services, social work practice on domestic violence and child abuse, and other topics related to domestic violence and child abuse.


  • Domestic Violence Services
    This section of the Child Welfare Information Gateway website focuses on the delivery of services to children and families affected by domestic violence.

  • The Greenbook Initiative
    The Family Violence Department of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges convened leading family court judges and experts on child maltreatment and domestic violence to develop the "Greenbook." Released in 1999 and formally titled, "Effective Intervention in Domestic Violence & Child Maltreatment Cases: Guidelines for Policy and Practice," it offers a comprehensive set of responses designed to eliminate or decrease the enormous risks that battered mothers, caseworkers and judges must take on behalf of children. Today, the "Greenbook" is helping child welfare workers, domestic violence advocates and family court judges in communities across the country change their approach to family violence to better help battered women and their children achieve safety. The "Greenbook" has spawned activities in states and localities across the country, as well as a federal initiative spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Justice.

  • Centre for Children and Families in the Justice System
    This non-profit social service agency in Canada helps children and families involved with the justice system as victims of crime, witnesses of crime, parties in custody disputes, subjects of child protection proceedings, litigants in civil suits for compensation, teenagers in therapeutic care settings, or youthful offenders. They are known for their innovative approach to understanding children exposed to domestic violence, supporting their mothers, and creating resources for service deliverers.


Last updated 1/30/14