Domestic violence is an actual or threatened physical, sexual or emotional abuse. Research tells us that witnessing or experiencing domestic violence or other abuse at any age can cause serious, lasting trauma that children and adults need support to overcome. Many people believe witnessing or experiencing violence hurts infants less, but research indicates that their fast-growing brains may be even more impacted.
More than 80% of the children entering the foster care system are removed from their families because their parents are charged with child neglect rather than abuse; a further 80% of their families struggle with substance abuse.
There is no such thing as a typical case in the foster care system, but if there was, it would be a child whose mother is struggling with a substance abuse problem and has not been able to care for her child. Someone in the community may notice the neglect and the child would be removed from her mother’s care.
The effects of being separated from a parent can often be as traumatizing as the neglect itself. In fact, foster youth are twice as likely to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as combat veterans (2016 California Children’s Report Card).
Whether you’re new to this topic, have witnessed domestic violence, or have survived abuse yourself, the resources to the right can help you support your advocate child.
Have a question about this issue? Ask a Specialist.
If you suspect child abuse or neglect, within 24 hours your first step is to call the Department of Family and Children's Services (DFCS) Child Abuse and Neglect Center (Available 24/7):
The Child Advocates 24/7 emergency contact number is (408) 761-3437. Next steps are in the Suspected Child Abuse Reporting Procedures.
From Your CASA Training