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Double risk: Immigrant mothers, domestic violence and public child welfare services in New York City


  • Earner, Ilze


This paper examines the experiences of Mexican immigrant mothers living in New York City who become involved with public child welfare services because of domestic violence and makes recommendations for evaluation of program services to immigrant mothers. A case study and the results of a focus group interview will be presented to illustrate the often conflicting cultural, social and political issues confronted by immigrant mothers as they negotiate the organization of services designed to address specific forms of domestic violence, i.e., the protection of children and the protection of women. Emergent themes point to the double risk faced by immigrant women--first at the hands of their partners and then by service providers who do not understand the cultural issues that surround domestic violence nor the implications that immigration status has for victims of abuse. After intervention, participants in this research study describe feeling both like [`]bad mothers' who fail to protect their children and [`]bad women' who turn family members over for deportation. Evaluation of services to immigrant mothers requires consideration not only of cultural and social issues that affect program outcomes but must also consider the larger implications that immigration status has on utilization of services by immigrant women. Immigrant women often face multiple risks when seeking help for family problems.

Suggested Citation

  • Earner, Ilze, 2010. "Double risk: Immigrant mothers, domestic violence and public child welfare services in New York City," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 288-293, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:epplan:v:33:y:2010:i:3:p:288-293

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mills, Linda G. & Friend, Colleen & Conroy, Kathryn & Fleck-Henderson, Ann & Krug, Stefan & Magen, Randy H. & Thomas, Rebecca L. & Trudeau, John H., 2000. "Child protection and domestic violence: Training, practice, and policy issues," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 315-332, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hughes, Judy & Chau, Shirley & Poff, Deborah C., 2011. ""They're not my favourite people": What mothers who have experienced intimate partner violence say about involvement in the child protection system," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(7), pages 1084-1089, July.
    2. Dettlaff, Alan J. & Johnson, Michelle A., 2011. "Child maltreatment dynamics among immigrant and U.S. born Latino children: Findings from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being (NSCAW)," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 936-944, June.
    3. Millett, Lina Sapokaite & Seay, Kristen D. & Kohl, Patricia L., 2015. "A national study of intimate partner violence risk among female caregivers involved in the child welfare system: The role of nativity, acculturation, and legal status," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 60-69.


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