- Foster Care , Latest News
- October 4, 2022
In honor of National Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, Let It Be Us’ Deputy Director Alex Montgomery explores the intersection of domestic violence and child welfare.
After graduating law school, my first job was a fellowship at a legal aid organization where I represented survivors of domestic violence. It was there that I learned the answer to the often asked question, “why doesn’t she just leave?”
The cycle of violence that happens in the home is both predictable and extremely complex. Research and experience have shown that the most dangerous time for a survivor of domestic violence is when she leaves – or tries to leave. Survivors know this, so the stakes are high.
Research by the Child Welfare Information Gateway reveals that up to 60% of child maltreatment may overlap with incidents of domestic violence. It is important to note that children do not need to be present during incidents of domestic violence to be affected by it. Just hearing verbal or physical abuse or seeing the results in the form of bruises or other injuries can traumatize the child.
Because domestic violence necessarily involves people with familial or other very close relationships, the effect on children is complicated. They want to protect their parents, even the one perpetrating the violence, because they love their parents. Much like the trauma of being forced to leave their biological parents for other reasons, children will likely have a difficult time navigating their emotions around situations of domestic violence.
Let It Be Us believes that understanding the nuance of domestic violence along with the difficult journey children must take through foster care is critical to creating systems and programs that will honor the complex feelings of children and support their healing from traumatic events.
If you are experiencing violence and need help, the Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7 online or by calling 1.800.799.SAFE (7233)
About Let It Be Us
Let It Be Us is a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the landscape of foster care and adoption in Illinois. Our mission is to inspire foster care and adoption so more children in care grow up in stable, healthy homes. Funds raised will go to programs that build a strong and innovative bridge between our waiting children and foster and adoptive parents. Learn more at letitbeus.org