The Role of Evidence-Based Practice in System Reform
Child welfare agencies use evidence-based practices to better ensure children's safety and well-being. The following resources identify evidence-based strategies used in child welfare reform efforts, including State and local examples.
The practices included below have been identified by their developers or an outside group as "evidence-based." Child Welfare Information Gateway and the Children's Bureau do not endorse individual practices or programs or make any claims about the effectiveness of the approaches described. This information is provided as a resource.
Assessing Promising Approaches in Child Welfare: Strategies for State Legislators (PDF - 196 KB)
Children's Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2007)
Provides information on how State legislators and legislative staff can effectively consider the appropriateness of promising child welfare approaches in relation to the program improvements being made through the Child and Family Services Reviews.
Child Welfare Initiatives
California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare (CEBC)
Offers summaries of child welfare reform initiatives that have been reviewed and rated using the CEBC Scientific Rating Scale to determine the level of evidence for the program.
Beyond Common Sense: Child Welfare, Child Well-Being, and the Evidence for Policy Reform
Wulczyn, Barth, Yuan, Harden, & Landsverk (2005)
Examines the measurement of child well-being as an outcome for children in the child welfare system and the need to incorporate evidence-based practices into child welfare policies to ensure child well-being.
Beyond Ideology, Politics, and Guesswork: The Case for Evidence-Based Policy (PDF - 60 KB)
Urban Institute (2008)
Explores the importance of using sound data analysis to examine the effect of proposed policies and discusses how evidence-based practice can draw on careful data collection, experimentation, and quantitative and qualitative analysis to lead to better-informed policy.
Incorporating Family Centered Practice in Youth Service Systems: Building a More Effective Juvenile Justice Field (PDF - 208 KB)
National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice (2007)
Discusses the need to refocus delinquency prevention efforts and capitalize on research findings to implement an evidence-based reform agenda.
Systemic Change and Empirically-Supported Practices: The Implementation Problem (PDF - 444 KB)
Center for Mental Health in Schools, University of California-Los Angeles (2006)
Highlights information that can help advance the use of empirically supported practices by framing implementation problems around a "diffusion of innovations" through major systemic change.
State and local examples
Hand in Hand: How One of the Nation's Largest Child Welfare Agencies Transformed Itself for Better Outcomes for Children (PDF - 564 KB)
Freitag, Park, & Hanusa (2009)
Details a comprehensive, evidence-based service delivery reform effort in Los Angeles County, California, that strove to reduce its reliance on out-of-home care.
Moving the Child Welfare Reform Train Faster: Improving Maryland's Plan to Address the Foster Home Shortage (PDF - 236 KB)
Voices for Maryland's Children
Advocates for Children and Youth, 5(9), 2008
Highlights the successes and challenges of an initiative in Maryland to increase the number of foster homes to 1,000 by 2010, including the incorporation of clear, evidence-based strategies into the effort.
Report to Virginia's SFRP (Safe Families in Recovery Project) Advisory Committee: Compendium of Evidence-Based, Best, and/or Promising Practices (PDF - 120 KB)
Provides information on promising practices related to collaboration and systems integration to help Virginia's planning workgroups and executive team establish objectives for improving daily practice and creating systemic change for families in the child welfare system who are experiencing substance abuse problems.