From Evidence to Outcomes in Child Welfare: An International Reader

ISBN : 9780199973729

Aron Shlonsky; Rami Benbenishty
256 Pages
162 x 238 mm
Pub date
Jan 2014
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The information age is upon us and, with it, a new era of human services has emerged. The terms 'Evidence-Based,' 'evidence-informed,' 'best practice', and 'effective' have become ubiquitous in scholarly and professional publications, government documents, funding applications, and training institutions across the world. Yet despite this avalanche of words, there is substantial disagreement with respect to the definition of evidence and how it should be used to improve the lives of children and youth. This book builds on the burgeoning evidence-informed practice movement in social welfare that evolved from evidence-based medicine some twenty years ago. Key insights from an internationally recognized group of scholars representing several child welfare systems promotes a nuanced understanding of evidence in all its forms; makes a strong case for understanding the role of context in generating, interpreting, and employing evidence; and provides guidance for integrating evidence and context in the provision of child welfare services. The book begins with an introduction to evidence-informed practice and a broad overview of the different types of evidence that can be useful in guiding difficult decisions under uncertain conditions. This is followed by a decision-making framework that incorporates the use of evidence within the context of a complex child protection system. Next, empirically supported programs and treatments are evaluated with respect to their transportability across contexts, with sometimes surprising results. Two revolutionary approaches to the delivery of effective services, common factors and common elements, are then introduced and followed by a treatise on the importance of implementation in child welfare settings. Embracing different types of evidence used for different questions, the role of randomized controlled trials, epidemiology, administrative and survey data are then explored. Finally, the context of service provision within an agency is explored through an overview of the structure, function, and culture of human services organizations; the role of universities in training staff and conducting relevant practice and policy research; and an applied example involving a partnership between a major university and a large child welfare agency.


List of Contributors
Aron Shlonsky, Rami Benbenishty
Part 1 Setting the context
1. From Evidence to Outcomes in Child Welfare
Aron Shlonsky, University of Toronto, Canada, University of Melbourne, Australia
Rami Benbenishty, Bar Ilan University, Israel
2. The Decision-Making Ecology
Donald J. Baumann, John Fluke, Len Dalgleish,Homer Kern
Part 2 Beyond Empirically Supported Interventions: Innovative strategies for a complicated world
3. The Transportability of Empirically-Supported Interventions
Knut Sundell, National Board of Health and Welfare, Sweden
Laura Ferrer-Wreder, Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, Sweden
4. Common Elements and Common Factors Approaches to Evidence-Informed Children's Services: Stacking the Building Blocks of Effective Practice
Richard P. Barth, School of Social Work, University of Maryland
Bethany R. Lee, School of Social Work, University of Maryland
5. Using implementation science to improve service and practice in child welfare: Actions and essential elements
Robyn Mildon, Parenting Research Centre, Melbourne Australia
Nancy Dickinson, School of Social Work. University of Mariland
Aron Shlonsky, University of Toronto, Canada, University of Melbourne, Australia
Part 3 The Question Drives the Method: Different Types of Evidence and Their Use
6. Poverty and the Black/White Placement Gap
Fred Wulczyn and Bridgette Lery, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago
7. Challenges to Learning from Experiments: Lessons from Evaluating Independent Living Services
Mark E. Courtney, University of Chicago
Michael Pergamit, The Urban Institute
Maria Woolverton, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, United States Department of Health and Human Services
Marla McDaniel, The Urban Institute
8. The case for a needs-based model in child welfare: A concept to address child well-being
Katherine L. Casillas & John D. Fluke, American Humane Association
Part 4 The delivery of services within an agency context
9. Human Service Organizations and their Use of Evidence
Hillel Schmid, Hebrew University
10. Training Social Workers to Understand and Use Evidence
Anat Zeira, Hebrew University
11. Supporting evidence based management in child welfare: A Canadian university-agency collaboration
Nico Trocme, Lise Milne, Toni Esposito, Claude Laurendeau & Mathieu-Joel Gervais, McGill University

About the author: 

Aron Shlonsky, MSW, MPH, PhD, is Associate Professor, Director of the PhD Program, and the Factor-Inwentash Chair in Child Welfare at the University of Toronto.Rami Benbenishty, PhD, is Professor at the School of Social Work, Bar Ilan University, Israel.

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