From evolving discourses to new practice approaches in domestic violence and child protective services

Colleen Friend, Aron Shlonsky, Liz Lambert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the evolution of the discourse surrounding domestic violence (DV), explores how that discourse intersects with public child welfare (PCW), and makes some suggestions for improving the quality and consistency of services for families involved with these systems in both the United States and Canada. In particular, the discourse at the intersection of the two systems has focused on whether or not children's exposure to DV is maltreatment and, further, if it warrants placement in foster care. Within the PCW system itself, data seem to point to divisions in worker beliefs over what circumstances necessitate removal of children and what solutions should be pursued in order to achieve permanence. Legislation and courts have spoken to this complex issue. Given the tension and new developments in the field, this article proposes that harm reduction (HR), evidence-based practice (EBP), and differential response (DR) approaches can bring the two systems together in order to better serve families.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)689-698
Number of pages10
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Child abuse
  • Child maltreatment
  • Differential response
  • Domestic violence
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Harm reduction

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