The issue brief series “Parenting and Domestic Violence” is a project created by The Network: Advocating Against Domestic Violence (The Network) to highlight experiences of adult and child survivors and persons who cause harm within the three primary systemic legal responses to child-involved domestic violence. These systemic legal responses consist of law enforcement, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), and the court system. This series explores how these responses treat and engage with survivors and the nature of parenting while a system-involved survivor of domestic violence. It seeks to offer improvements to these interactions, alternatives to these systemic legal responses, and outline community-based services that address the needs of survivors and their children more effectively.
This brief considers the interactions survivors are most likely to have with the family regulation system in the City of Chicago, which is served by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). As such, survivors’ reports of their interactions with this agency form the basis of the case examples cited in this brief. The child welfare system may also be referenced as the ‘family regulation system’, popularized by scholar Dorothy Roberts, due to its impact on the whole family structure and attempts to enforce standards and norms on that structure . Where possible and applicable, national data and case studies are cited to provide a broader picture of survivor experiences with child welfare organizations.