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.
Fields of Science
- 5145 Social work
- Child protection
- Practice models
- Social work
- Systematic review
- SOLUTION-BASED CASEWORK
- 515 Psychology