The Studies

Introduction, Principles and Processes

View the printable bibliography

The Contexts


The Studies

Use the search field below to find studies in the annotated bibliography.


Methods of Review


Team Member Bios





Kate Morris
University of Nottingham, United Kingdom

The studies reviewed in this bibliography reveal the range and diversity of approaches to involve families in achieving good outcomes for their children. The studies vary in focus, purpose and methodology. The keyword search, therefore, enables the reader to identify reports that are relevant to their own practice or areas of interest and also allows the material to be grouped by categories such as country and field of practice.

Family engagement strategies are not uniform -- this international annotated bibliography demonstrates the differences among countries and across cultures. The reader cannot, therefore, make assumptions that all reports or articles refer to similar processes. All the submissions, however, are concerned with exploring how children’s kinship and family networks can contribute to their well-being, and a significant number of the entries address family involvement in decision making from a rights-based perspective. This suggests that family engagement practices are not value-free; instead, they are often concerned with promoting the rights of families and the need to use family expertise. This basis for the services that are developed can sit at odds with traditional approaches to evaluation, which use progress measures that may not reflect the innovative intentions of family-engagement services. Developing responsive research and evaluation strategies and methods is therefore an emerging theme from this international review.

The majority of the reports and articles submitted show family engagement in decision making to be a positive, developing child welfare practice that secures good outcomes for children. The very small number of reports identifying less promising outcomes raises important questions about the feasibility of comparisons across different contexts.

The submissions often provide information about process (including specific practice developments such as advocates for children and roles of coordinators) and strategies (how family engagement services are developed and implemented and the benefits for agencies or local services). There is a limited number of studies focused specifically on outcomes for children -- this reflects that many services are in a developmental stage and may not have the data to reveal mid- and long-term outcomes. As we update this annotated bibliography over time, we anticipate that an increasing number of submissions will describe impacts and thus, contribute to the body of knowledge about the effects of family engagement in child welfare decision making.

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