Over the past 10 years, there has been a significant decline in the rate of domestic violence (DV) experienced among caregivers involved with the child protective services (CPS) system. It is unclear whether this shift is related to changes in caregiver characteristics. Furthermore, despite evidence that suggests CPS caseworkers poorly identify DV and fail to link families to DV services, limited research exists on whether the current CPS interventions that are known to improve caseworkers’ DV identification will also improve chances for DV service receipt. The present study uses data from the first and second cohorts of the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) to compare differences in demographic characteristics and DV experiences between caregivers in NSCAW I (1999-2000; n = 2,758) and NSCAW II (2008-2009; n = 2,207). We also examine the effects of CPS interventions on NSCAW II caregivers’ receipt of DV services external to the CPS agency (i.e., external DV services). Caregivers with caseworker reports of active DV in NSCAW I and II were similar in their demographic characteristics and external DV service experiences. However, caregivers in NSCAW II generally reported lower rates of victimization for specific types of violence than NSCAW I caregivers. Finally, caregivers with active DV involved with an agency that used DV assessment tools were 7.03 times more likely to receive external DV services than those in agencies without DV tools (95% confidence interval [CI] = [2.33, 21.22]). Whereas caregivers in agencies that sometimes (odds ratio [OR] = 0.16, 95% CI = [0.03, 0.99]) or always (OR = 0.15, 95% CI = [0.02, 0.98]) had a DV specialist available were less likely to receive external DV services than those in an agency that never/rarely had a DV specialist available. We recommend CPS agencies use specialized assessment tools to identify DV-affected families and link them to services. Additional research is needed to understand what types of services DV specialists offer within CPS agencies and whether these services meet caregivers’ needs.
- children exposed to domestic violence
- domestic violence
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Psychology
- Applied Psychology