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The child welfare response to domestic violence : exploring the concurrence between the literature, best practice guidelines and worker perception in the Ministry for Children and Family Development DeGeer, Ian G.

Abstract

Increasingly; child welfare authorities have become involved with families where domestic violence is an issue. This has been the result of improved understanding of the impact of witnessing domestic violence on children. However, child welfare has been criticized for the oppressive nature of the interventions with families where domestic violence has occurred. Critics have argued that an absence of understanding about domestic violence by social workers in child welfare has resulted in oppressive practice towards women and children. This study explored the perceptions of social workers in British Columbia's Ministry for Children and Family Development - South Fraser Region about the barriers to best practice in cases of domestic violence. An extensive literature review revealed eight barriers to best practice that contradict current best practice guidelines for cases of domestic violence. The findings of this study revealed that social workers identified that similar barriers to best practice exist in the South Fraser Region, thereby confirming the concerns in the literature. The use of factor analysis revealed that social workers are attempting to work with non-offending parents in amore supportive manner, but there continue to be systemic problems associated with child welfare services that impede workers ability to practice in a non-oppressive manner. Recommendations for improvement of service provision are outlined and discussed.

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