Differential response in cases of domestic violence (2007-2010)
Principal Investigator: Tahany Gadalla, University of Toronto
Co-investigators: Ramona Alaggia, University of Toronto, Aron Shlonsky, University of Toronto
Community partners: Deborah Goodman, Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, Bruce Leslie, Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, Kenn Richard, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto Howard Hurwitz, Jewish Family & Child Service of Toronto Rocco Pagnello, Family & Children's Services of Leeds & Grenville
Funded by: Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services
With the advent of the Ontario Child Welfare Transformation Plan and the introduction of differential response we are well positioned to examine the pathways of domestic violence cases through the child welfare system to help inform child welfare practice and improve service responses. Domestic violence (DV) cases have contributed to an enormous increase in child welfare cases over the last eight years. Research indicates that close to half of child welfare cases have DV as a dynamic. Family characteristics, case dynamics and service needs of these families differ by case and require a differential response from child protection agencies. This study will examine how differential response is best implemented in cases involving DV in order to help professionals increase child safety, enhance permanency for children, identify gaps in service for children and their families, address how these gaps might be filled, refine assessments that are sensitive to risk factors for these families, and improve service coordination. This information will be critical in helping to more accurately identify service gaps and the best ways to fill these. Knowing which and what proportion of cases are opened at intake, have brief contact, are closed at intake, transferred to ongoing services, or have children admitted into care is important in understanding the service needs of these families. As well, identification of case characteristics to determine which families are deemed low, moderate or high risk, and gaining an understanding as to why a concerning number of these cases are re-opened in child welfare, will improve the development of appropriate interventions and program supports.