What is the Greenbook?
Effective Intervention in Domestic Violence & Child Maltreatment Cases: Guidelines for Policy and Practice, also known as the "Greenbook," is a set of recommendations designed to help dependency courts and child welfare and domestic violence agencies better serve families experiencing violence. The Family Violence Department of the National Council of Juvenile & Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) brought together a diverse, expert committee to develop the "Greenbook" over many months. Its recommendations are being used, formally and informally, by hundreds of communities across the nation and around the world.
Why do we need the Greenbook?
Some studies show that as many as half of batterers also abuse their children. When domestic violence coincides with child maltreatment, courts, child welfare and domestic violence agencies may all be called upon to help. These groups have different protocols and different goals, and often fail to coordinate effectively. This can result in ineffective interventions and cause additional trauma to families that are already under great stress. In worst-case scenarios, the systems work at cross-purposes and children can be taken from their battered parent, who is blamed for allowing them to be exposed to violence. The "Greenbook" offers recommendations that can help communities respond more effectively and do much more to protect and support families experiencing violence.
How does the Greenbook work?
Too often, victims of domestic violence and their children are victimized twice: first by the abuser, and second by the very systems that are designed to help them. The "Greenbook" recommendations were designed to promote safety by teaching judicial, child welfare and domestic violence workers to coordinate more effectively. The goal of the Greenbook is to keep victims and children safe, allow victims of violent relationships to access services without fear of losing custody of their children, and in most cases to prevent the removal of a child from a non-abusive parent. When social service and court workers coordinate, all family members are more likely to receive the counseling and support that they need.
How were the sites chosen for the Greenbook Initiative?
Six counties received $1.05 million each in federal grants over seven years to implement new collaborations. These counties - Grafton County, New Hampshire; El Paso County, Colorado; Lane County, Oregon; Santa Clara County, California; San Francisco County, California; and St. Louis County, Missouri - also received ongoing technical assistance and support through the grant period. The six counties were selected from more than 100 applicants in a rigorous selection process run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Justice. Many other sites that did not receive federal funding are using the "Greenbook" to improve collaboration across agencies and alter their policies and practices.
Can other jurisdictions use the Greenbook?
NCJFCJ has distributed more than 21,000 copies of the "Greenbook" to judges, domestic violence advocates, child welfare workers and others around the country in response to requests, which continue to pour in. The Council will continue to make the Greenbook available and to share the results of its work in order to help other communities better address the intersection of child maltreatment and domestic violence.
Are other jurisdictions implementing all or part of the Greenbook?
The six federally funded counties that were part of the "Greenbook" project discovered and continue to discover new ways for juvenile courts, child welfare and domestic violence agencies to work together to aid and support families. They have successfully broken barriers and overcome long-standing mistrust between departments. Evaluations from some of the demonstration sites are available under the Greenbook Initiative page, click here.