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Evaluation of Cross-Disciplinary Training on the Co-Occurrence of Domestic Violence and Child Victimization: Overcoming Barriers to Collaboration

JHHSA, Vol. 34 No. 3, (2011)

The co-occurrence of child abuse and domestic violence has gained increasing attention over the last several years. As a result, there have been a number of efforts around the country to cross-train domestic violence and child welfare workers. Many of these initiatives are based on recommendations derived from prior research which emphasizes the importance of cross training child welfare workers, domestic violence advocates, and others in order to enhance inter-agency collaborations and ultimately improve the handling of co-occurrence cases. Using a survey design and two samples of child protective service (CPS) workers were drawn, this paper evaluates the effectiveness of a statewide initiative to improve inter-agency collaboration through a series of cross-disciplinary trainings. Special attention is also given to the identification of barriers and their potential role in shaping collaboration. While this study did not find significant changes in CPS workers’ knowledge, attitudes, or self-reported levels of collaboration overall as a result of the training, collaboration was found to be related to increased knowledge and positive attitudes toward collaboration post training. The findings further demonstrate that efforts to cross-train staff can change the way CPS workers view the presence of some barriers to collaboration. Implications for future research and strategies for enhancing inter-agency collaboration in co-occurrence cases are discussed.

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