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.
A Framework to Design, Test, Spread, and Sustain Effective Practice in Child Welfare (PDF - 807 KB)
Children's Bureau (2014)
Describes a process for exploring problems in child welfare, developing interventions, building evidence about their effectiveness, integrating effective interventions into routine child welfare practice, and continually improving on their delivery. The framework is designed to promote better integration of evaluation with program and policy decision-making and to encourage stronger partnerships between child welfare stakeholders.
Assembling the Pieces: Research, Policy, and Practice in Child Welfare (PDF - 257 KB)
Casey Family Programs (2016)
Explores using research evidence in child welfare, which results in more informed decision-making; increased use of evidence-based practices; and ongoing evaluation for accountability, client satisfaction, and program improvement purposes. Research evidence is critical for ensuring a high functioning system of policies and programs serving children and families.
Implementation Oversight for Evidence-Based Programs: A Policymakers Guide to Effective Program Delivery
Pew Charitable Trusts (2016)
Identifies four key steps that State and local governments and programs can take to strengthen any evidence-based implementation effort and includes the example of successful programs in Washington State.
Key Implementation Considerations for Executing Evidence-Based Programs: Project Overview (PDF - 131 KB)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (2013)
Includes viewpoints from practitioners and researchers with experience using and evaluating an array of evidence-based programs for children and youth. The brief also explores challenges encountered when selecting and replicating evidence-based programs and identifies approaches for developing programs when they are not available.
Realizing the Potential of Research in Child Welfare (PDF - 223 KB)
William T. Grant Foundation
Examines the use of research evidence in policy and practice as it relates to youth and examines the use of research across systems, from the Federal policy context to the local level.
Research Evidence Use by Child Welfare Agencies (PDF - 194 KB)
Wulczyn, Alpert, & Monahan-Price (2016)
CW360 Child Welfare Reform
Examines the use of child welfare research by policymakers, agency directors, and frontline staff to improve child welfare programs and how evidence-based practices could be better implemented for reform.
Research-Practice-Policy Partnerships for Implementation of Evidence-Based Practices in Child Welfare and Child Mental Health (PDF - 291 KB)
Palinkas, Short, & Wong (2015)
William T. Grant Foundation
Examines three models for successful research-practice-policy partnerships that involve some degree of research, technical assistance, knowledge generation, and knowledge dissemination. Where they differ is in the amount of attention given to each component and in the background of the partnership’s leadership, be it research, policy, or practice.
Scaling-Up Evidence-Based Practices in Child Welfare Services Systems
Aarons & Chaffin (2013)
American Psychological Association
Provides examples of outcomes from a statewide scale-up of evidence-based practices in Oklahoma and a multicounty scale-up in California and examines themes from each and lessons learned when implementing evidence-based policies in child welfare.
Social Policy Report: The Uses of Research in Policy and Practice (PDF - 623 KB)
Society for Research in Child Development, 26(2)
Describes the ways policymakers and practitioners define, acquire, interpret, and use research to create evidence-based policy.
California Social Work Education Center (2017)
Examines how human services professionals are moving toward an evidence-based model of practice and works to promote a greater understanding of the potential of evidence-based practices by providing links to resources, tools, webinars, literature reviews, and more.
Evidence-Based Practices and Programs: Improving Child Well-Being
New York State Office of Children and Family Services
Describes how the State of New York has been incorporating evidence-based practices into its own operations for several years and is committed to supporting the use of evidence- and outcome-based services to improve child well-being and achieve positive outcomes for children, families, and communities.
What Works Wisconsin: Effective Programs and Resources for Children, Youth and Families
University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Human Ecology & University of Wisconsin-Extension’s Family Living Programs
Highlights a project in the State of Wisconsin that focuses on the latest scientific knowledge on effective policies, practices, and programs for youth, their families, schools, and communities. What Works Wisconsin also provides links to information on topics such as evidence-informed program improvement processes and materials, evidence-based program registries, and evaluation resources.