‘A shift in philosophy’ – that’s how new guidelines at Child Protective Services are described. The changes took place May 1, and they’re focusing on cases where domestic violence is a factor.
Billie Winner-Davis, a program administrator for investigations at CPS, says that is domestic violence cases both the perpetrator and the victim were being treated the same way when it came to a child’s safety within the home.
“The victims of domestic violence were being (accused) for neglectful supervision of the children in the domestic violence situation,” Winner-Davis says. “The way that we’re going to be working going forward is we’re actually going to be holding the person who made that situation unsafe … responsible. We’re only going to be holding the victim responsible if we can show or we have information that the victim had resources or services that were available to her that she could have prevented this.”
The new guidelines focus more on the person which is creating the unsafe environment, rather than punishing both parties.
Either way, Winner-Davis says the bottom line is always going to be the safety of the child.
“We’ve never been in a situation like this before where we’ve actually said ‘Wait a minute, one is a perpetrator of domestic violence and the other one is a victim.'” she says. “And to have separate principles and guiding factors in that case.”
Prepared for web by Beth Cortez-Neavel.