It is increasingly common to find that agencies and community service providers are being urged to implement evidence-based intervention and treatment practices for children and families. The benefit of providing such services is that, if properly implemented, they may be more likely to result in positive outcomes for children and families. A range of criteria has been established by multiple and sometimes conflicting authorities regarding the basis for evaluating support for particular practices.
There are numerous issues, which are gradually being addressed, surrounding the identification of appropriate evidence-based practices and the fidelity of these practices. It will be critical for the Center to monitor these developments.
Although evidence-based practices are gaining momentum, there have been few efforts to systematically assemble and assess what is involved in bringing such practices to scale in large child protective service agencies. What is more, assuming that the implementation of evidence-based practices is desirable, few efforts have been directed specifically at addressing what configurations of services might meet the needs of typical child welfare populations.
There has also been significant development of evidence-based practices that might address the needs of certain components of the child welfare population, but it is by no means clear that recognized evidence-based practices exist for the bulk of children and families in the child protective service population.
The Child Protection Research Center will focus on assembling research on the scale-up issue, assessing the gaps in evidence-based practices for child protective service populations, conducting cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit simulation analysis with the assistance of state and local agencies, and eventually supporting implementation studies of scale-up in state and local agencies.
The Center has taken some initial steps toward these goals: