Domestic Violence-Informed Child Welfare Organizational Assessment

David Mandel & Associates has developed a group of tools and processes to help child welfare agencies and communities assess their own progress toward becoming domestic violence-informed. The following can be used in conjunction with each other or separately:

  • Case Reading Process
  • Domestic Violence-Informed Organizational Self Assessment
  • Data Review and Consultation
  • Policy and Protocol Review and Consultation

To learn more about any of these processes  contact David Mandel @

Case Reading Process

David Mandel & Associates trains the local team, provides facilitated support to the process and helps analyze the results. The process is focused on learning, collaboration and improving policy and practice. The results for the case reading process are presented as themes, trends and practices, not as an audit of individual workers’ work. The preliminary results are discussed with the review teams and then a large group of agency staff to enhance validity and engage in a collaborative interpretation process. In addition to identifying strengths and gaps, the case process also builds internal agency capacity through the staff members who participate in the case reading process. The process can be instituted as a one-time stand-alone assessment or can be become part of an on-going quality assurance process. It can also be paired with domestic violence-informed training and technical assistance efforts in order to measure their effectiveness. David Mandel & Associates has developed a multi-day, facilitated case reading process to identify strengths and needs related to domestic violence-informed child welfare practice. The overall goal of the case reading process is to use the Safe and Together model and related domestic violence-informed child welfare continuum of practice framework to identify strengths and needs regarding domestic violence-informed child welfare practice. The case reading process uses an in-depth, qualitative review of a small number of randomly selected cases to identify trends and practices that can be examined by the child welfare team for validity, significance and meaning. Identified strengths and needs may point back to policy, practice, training, supervision, services, collaboration with community partners and work with the courts. The process is designed to examine if domestic violence is being effectively identified in cases and the quality of domestic violence practice in cases where it is identified. This case reading process differs from a large scale review as it seeks to focus on the quality of case practice as represented in the case record.

Domestic Violence-Informed Organizational Self Assessment

All child welfare systems fall somewhere on the Continuum of Domestic Violence Practice (CODVP) from “domestic violence destructive” to “domestic violence proficient.” The purpose of this self-assessment tool is to help child welfare agencies assess where they fall on the (CODVP). Using a series of questions that focus on both policy and day-to-day practice, the tool covers a number of areas including universal screening, high standards for fathers, survivors’ protective efforts, services, data collection and more. Completion of the assessment will provide child welfare agencies with baseline information about their organization’s domestic violence proficiency and can help inform organizational needs, planning and implementation around training, practice guidelines, policies, protocols, and supervisory practices, among others.   David Mandel & Associates provides the self-assessment tool, works with the agency to identify the best methodology to gather the information needed to complete the form, and collaborates with the agency to understand the results.  Additionally, we can work to produce a set of policy and practice change recommendations based on this self-assessment.

Data Review and Consultation

Many child welfare agencies have devoted very little time to understand how domestic violence is being measured on their caseload and how the presence of domestic violence in families being served intersects with important outcomes, like out of home removal and repeat maltreatment rates.  Systems rarely have a picture of the relationship of domestic violence to other key initiatives such as differential response, or trauma.  As part of an organizational assessment, David Mandel & Associates can provide a data review which would including looking at where the presence of domestic violence is currently being captured in the SACWIS system, definitions of domestic violence is being used to capture those data points and how this current data picture is tied to priority agency outcome measures.  We can make recommendations about how domestic violence data collection and reporting can be improved in order to provide a clear picture of the role domestic violence is playing in agency decision-making and outcomes.

Policy and Protocol Review and Consultation

Similar to the data review, many child welfare agencies have not systematically reviewed their policy and protocols from a domestic violence-informed perspective. David Mandel & Associates can review policies and protocols in order to assess how consistent they are with a perpetrator-pattern, child-centered, survivor strength-based approach.  The review can lead to a report that summarizes strengths, gaps and recommendations for change.

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