Evaluating the Domestic Violence Liaison Program
Starting in July, 2015, the Center on Violence Against Women & Children (VAWC) at Rutgers School of Social Work received funding from the New Jersey Department of Children and Families to evaluate the statewide Domestic Violence Liaison (DVL) program. The purpose of the project is to identify whether interagency collaboration between child welfare agencies and domestic violence service organizations can positively impact the lives of families experiencing co-occurring domestic violence and child maltreatment.
The research team at VAWC reviewed academic literature and reports to learn how child welfare and domestic violence agencies across the U.S. have and are currently addressing the co-occurrence of domestic violence and child maltreatment as well as factors that either facilitate or hinder collaboration between systems. From this information, two research-to-practice briefs were developed outlining the best practices and policies on addressing domestic violence in child welfare systems. Both briefs were disseminated to the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and to the New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence (NJCEDV) and can be viewed below.
VAWC facilitated eight focus groups with key stakeholders across the state of New Jersey, including CP&P staff, DVLs, and DVL supervisors. Focus groups discussed the current processes for screening and referring clients to the DVL program as well as the successes and challenges with the DVL program with specific attention given to determining successful collaboration and barriers to collaboration.
VAWC distributed a confidential online survey to every local CP&P office and domestic violence program in each county. The survey included questions on perceptions of and experiences with the DVL Program as well as their knowledge and attitudes around domestic violence, child maltreatment, and the intersection of the two. Additionally, questions were asked regarding staff’s confidence in their ability to identify domestic violence and refer to the DVL program. Over 1,000 CP&P and DV professionals total, from every county in NJ, participated in the survey.
VAWC is completing a Preliminary Report based on our initial data analysis of the focus groups and statewide online survey. This report will be forthcoming.
Currently, the research team at VAWC is recruiting 200 women in three New Jersey counties to conduct interviews regarding their experiences with the DVL program and with the overlap of the child welfare and domestic violence systems. These interviews will be conducted throughout the coming months in order to assess the effect the DVL program has on outcomes for families impacted by domestic violence.