Domestic violence training for supervisors produces some positive results

by David Mandel

“In child welfare cases involving domestic violence, supervision plays a critical role in determining the quality and consistency of case practice.   The expectations of supervisors and managers, as expressed through their questions and directives, determine workers’ priorities and areas of focus. Supervisors and managers make the critical decisions regarding case substantiation, transfer and removal.   In domestic violence cases,  it is the supervisor who decides whether a worker’s assessment of the domestic violence perpetrator’s threat to a child safety is complete. It is the supervisor who reviews the worker’s discussion with the survivor regarding safety planning and the children’s well-being.  It is the supervisor who often decides whether a case will be opened and transferred. And managers are frequently involved in cases, providing feedback and direction.” (excerpted from Supervising Domestic Violence Cases: A Training for Child Welfare Supervisors and Managers by David Mandel)

Starting in June 2008, I’ve been delivering targeted day long trainings for CT’s Department of Children and Families’ supervisors and managers entitled “Supervising Domestic Violence Cases.”   And as a follow up to the training,  I surveyed the participants regarding changes in their supervisory practice and their perception of the training is changing outcomes for families. The results are promising.

  • 66% of the respondents identified specific positive changes in their supervisory practice including (1) improved and increased utilization of the Domestic Violence Consultants; (2) greater understanding of the dynamics of coercive control and its impact on the family; (3) increased understanding of survivors’ strengths and safety planning; and (4) more specific questions and directives to workers.
  • 62% indicated positive change in their workers’ practice as a result of their training in the Safe and Together model including 1) workers were more empathetic and supportive to domestic violence survivors; 2) improved assessment and information gathering and 3) improved utilization of the Domestic Violence Consultants.
  • 50% of the respondents indicated positive changes in outcomes for families as a result of the training including 1) increased ability to maintain children safely in the home resulting in fewer out of home placements 2) referrals better tailored to the needs of the family 3) more support for domestic violence survivors and 4) greater accountability for the domestic violence perpetrator.
  • 69% of the respondents indicated continued positive or improved utilization of the Domestic Violence Consultants. For example, one supervisor reported an 80% increase in referrals to their Area Office Domestic Violence Consultant and other supervisors indicated workers were better prepared for the consultation process.

To read the full report on the training and the survey click here.

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