Effectiveness Of Child Protection Practice Models: A Systematic Review.
Isokuortti, Nanne. Aaltio, Elina. Laajasalo, Taina. Barlow, Jan.
Published: October 2020
Child Abuse and Neglect
Vol. 108 , p. 1-11
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Background: Attempts to improve child protection outcomes by implementing social work practice models embedded in a particular theory and practice approach, have increased internationally over the past decade. Objective: To assess the evidence of the effectiveness of child protection practice models in improving outcomes for children and families. Participants and setting: Children < 18 years and their families involved in child protection services. Methods: A systematic review was conducted to synthesize evidence regarding the effectiveness of child protection practice models. Systematic searches across 10 electronic databases and grey literature were conducted to identify quasi-experimental studies minimally. Included studies were critically appraised and the findings summarized narratively. Results: Five papers, representing six studies, focusing on three practice models (Solution-Based Casework; Signs of Safety; and Reclaiming Social Work) met the inclusion criteria. All studies applied a quasi-experimental design. Overall, the quality of the evidence was rated as being poor, with studies suffering from a risk of selection bias, small sample sizes and short-term follow up. Conclusions: Despite the popularity of practice models, the evidence base for their effectiveness is still limited. The results suggest that high-quality studies are urgently needed to evaluate the impact of practice models in improving the outcomes of child-protection-involved families. The findings also illustrate the difficulties of conducting high-quality outcome evaluations in children’s social care, and these challenges and future directions for research, are discussed. (Author abstract)
child protective services; models; child welfare reform; evidence based practice; child welfare research; research needs; program evaluation; barriers