Operations

Operations

When a public child welfare agency has a research-oriented culture and the workforce is research minded, several things occur.

  • An agency leader consistently and clearly indentifies and rewards agency personnel that use research and data to drive the decisions they make.
  • Staff have an understanding of agency-specific knowledge that allows the agency to convincingly describe how the proposed research is relevant to the research objectives spelled out in the solicitation, which, in turn, will advance the agency’s larger strategic plan.
  • The workforce is encouraged to ask questions and make observations on day-to-day activities during case engagement and within agency administration.
  • The agency self funds research, which enables decisions to be made based on projects that have high value and feasibility.

An emerging operational approach to practices adopted in the public child welfare field includes the process of combining research, knowledge, professional/clinical expertise and client and community values, preferences and circumstances (CA EBP Ref). This approach is known as Evidenced-Based Practice (EBP). EBP relies heavily on research. EBP requires applying research that indicates:

  • What do clients prefer as treatments? 
  • What treatments are effective?
  • What facilitates practice fidelity by the practitioner? 
  • What is associated with the achievement of outcomes?

As this approach and others advance research in child welfare, all stakeholders will need to identify research priorities for the field as a whole. Establishing disparities/disproportionality principles, agency/practice model values or competencies for certain types of positions are areas that affect the entire public child welfare field. If these field-wide priorities should be advanced, then consideration should also be given to researching practice and program effectiveness in addition to what agency capacity-building efforts work best. Related to the latter, a national child welfare research agenda should include: the impact of different professional development programs and interventions on agency capacity and performance, and the differences between va ious BSW and

MSW programs and their respective impact on the workforce in determining how to continuously improve them.






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