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Child Youth Serv Rev. 2007 Apr;29(4):490-500.

Assessment of Intimate Partner Violence by Child Welfare Services.

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  • 1Child and Adolescent Services Research Center, Children's Hospital and Health Center, San Diego, CA.


The purpose of this study was to describe policy and practice with respect to the assessment of intimate partner violence in a sample of child welfare agencies located throughout the United States and to examine the relationship of contextual characteristics and assessment practices. Telephone interviews were conducted with key informants from child welfare agencies. A snowball interviewing strategy was used to identify the best informant in each agency. Almost all of the participating agencies conducted some assessment of intimate partner violence, with most reporting that the majority of screening or assessment occurred during investigation of referrals. However, only 43.1% reported that all of the families referred to the child welfare system were assessed for intimate partner violence, and 52.8% indicated they had a written policy pertaining to screening and assessment of the problem. There was little relationship between county or agency characteristics and assessment practices. Additional research is needed to determine factors that influence assessment practices and to identify strategies to support and extend efforts to identify intimate partner violence and provide appropriate services for families in the child welfare system.

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