U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Profiles of Victimized Women Among the Child Welfare Population: Implications for Targeted Child Welfare Policy and Practices

NCJ Number
Family Journal of Violence Volume: 23 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2008 Pages: 57-68
Patricia L. Kohl; Rebecca J. Macy
Date Published
January 2008
12 pages
This study analyzed the patterns of needs and resources of victimized women involved with child welfare.
The findings have strong potential for determining how victimized women's needs and resources combine in ways that have implications for service delivery. Domestic violence is often under-identified, or not assessed all, by child welfare workers. Domestic violence and its relationship to child maltreatment are frequently overlooked and unaddressed. Even when the domestic violence is known, domestic violence services are an underused resource of child welfare agencies. Victimized women contend with multiple problems stemming from violent victimization. Four distinct profiles among victimized female caregivers and families investigated for child maltreatment emerged from this study: the Multi--Problem Class women are characterized by depression, a personal history of childhood abuse and neglect, and low social support; the Support-Substance Class women, in conjunction with alcohol and drug abuse, reported involvement in the legal system and difficulties with depression, but reported the highest levels of social support; the Stressed-Low Support Class women showed high levels of stress paired with low social support; and Low Support Only Class women were relatively isolated with few social supports, and relative to the other classes, had fewer psychosocial problems such as depression, substance abuse, stress, childhood abuse, and legal involvement. When the class' pattern of needs and resources are considered, targeting domestic violence may be the most critical issue for a substantial group of women among the child welfare population. Efforts should be undertaken to improve the response of child welfare agencies to domestic violence among families investigated for maltreatment. By promoting the safety of these victimized women, these case management services may also promote children's safety. Data were collected from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being and included 1,229 female permanent caregivers who reported at least one incident of violent victimization by an intimate partner in the 12 months prior to their initial interview. Tables, references