Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Social Work

First Advisor

Marian Bussey, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Nicole Nicotera

Third Advisor

Walter LaMandola


Animal-assisted interactions, Child maltreatment, Child welfare, Implimentation science, Organizational administration, Social work


The study presents findings from a needs assessment exploring the critical features or core elements that bear on professionals regarding the inclusion of dogs as judiciary aides in the investigation and prosecution of child maltreatment cases. Specifically, the objectives of the current needs assessment were examined through the following questions: (1) What are the perceived benefits of implementing programs with dogs as judiciary aids throughout criminal justice? (2) What specific roles do professionals identify for dogs within criminal justice, (3) What are potential barriers to the implementation of dogs as judiciary aids programs, and (4) How are the needs and expectations of agencies considering incorporating dogs similar to or different from those agencies that are currently incorporating dogs.

The study identified a number of differences in the identified roles, barriers, and important factors reported by survey respondents. Quantitative analysis of responses regarding the role of dogs in the criminal justice setting revealed professionals identified roles for dogs that matched their particular scope of influence. Moreover, qualitative findings provided additional insight into participant’s concerns and convictions and their varying perceptions of factors central to the inclusion of dogs in criminal justice processes for child maltreatment. The study relies heavily on qualitative responses of participants. Implications are discussed with regard to micro and macro levels of social work practice and the field of implementation research.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.


Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Maureen MacNamara

File size

209 p.

File format





Social work, Public administration

Included in

Social Work Commons