Latest News and Articles

The Manifest and Latent Functions of Differential Response in Child Welfare

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Although previous research has explored the efficacy of differential response (DR) programs in child welfare, there have been no studies to date about coding decisions between designations by child protection service agencies. Research has explored client satisfaction with DR as well as rates of recidivism and removal/placement but with limited attention paid to the rationales behind coding decisions and recoding, once an initial designation pathway is assigned. This descriptive study uses data previously gathered by child protection social workers to qualitatively evaluate the fidelity of implementation of family development response (FDR) in British Columbia and the integrity of the program with regard to its stated objectives. Based on a random sample of intakes, decision-making fidelity to code as FDR or investigation (INV) was examined by exploring rationales behind coding at critical decision points and mechanisms for recoding during family involvement with child protective services. Subsequently, this study examined whether cases that had been coded as FDR differed substantially from INVs in terms of service provision, outcomes, and appropriateness of FDR for high-risk cases.


Social Workers Orientation Toward the Evidence-Based Practice Process: A Dutch Survey

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Objectives:

This study assesses social workers’ orientation toward the evidence-based practice (EBP) process and explores which specific variables (e.g. age) are associated.

Methods:

Data were collected from 341 Dutch social workers through an online survey which included a Dutch translation of the EBP Process Assessment Scale (EBPPAS), along with 13 background/demographic questions.

Results:

The overall level of orientation toward the EBP process is relatively low. Although respondents are slightly familiar with it and have slightly positive attitudes about it, their intentions to engage in it and their actual engagement are relatively low. Respondents who followed a course on the EBP process as a student are more oriented toward it than those who did not. Social workers under 29 are more familiar with the EBP process than those over 29.

Conclusions:

We recommend educators to take a more active role in teaching the EBP process to students and social workers.


Postadoption and Guardianship: An Evaluation of the Adoption Preservation, Assessment, and Linkage Program

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Objectives:

This study evaluated the effects of the Adoption Preservation, Assessment, and Linkage (APAL) postpermanency program.

Method:

A quasi-experimental, posttest-only design was used to estimate the program’s effects on youth discharged from foster care to adoption or legal guardianship. A random sample was surveyed (female = 44.7%; African American = 94%) and tracked with administrative data. The primary analysis estimated the program’s effect of being assigned to the intervention, whereas a supplementary analysis estimated the effects of actually receiving the services.

Results:

The APAL program was associated with higher levels of caregiver commitment, fewer youth behavior problems, and lower odds of placement discontinuity.

Conclusion:

Offering postpermanency outreach services to families might help reinforce caregiver commitment and promote children’s well-being.


Measuring Personal Growth of New Grandparents: A Practical Tool for Social Workers

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Objective:

Two studies examined the validity of using the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI) to assess growth following the transition to grandparenthood as an aid for social workers seeking to promote strengths-based interventions for this population.

Method:

In Study 1 (n = 210 grandparent/offspring pairs), first-time grandparents’ spontaneous answers to a qualitative open-ended question regarding changes following the birth of their first grandchild were compared to their responses to the PTGI. To corroborate these responses, the PTGI was also completed by the grandparent’s offspring. Additionally, the study examined the applicability of the five-factor structure of the PTGI to the population of first-time grandparents. In Study 2 (n = 202 couples), grandparents’ PTGI responses were compared with reports of their growth furnished by their spouses.

Findings and conclusions:

The PTGI can indeed be considered an effective instrument for measuring growth following the transition to grandparenthood and may therefore be used in designing strengths-based social work practices.


Job Coaching and Success in Gaining and Sustaining Employment Among Homeless People

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Objective: People who are homeless experience many barriers that affect their ability to gain and sustain work. In this study, we investigate whether personal job coaching support contributes toward employment success. Methods: The short- and long-term employment outcomes of 2,480 clients participating in a labor market program were analyzed. Results: Clients being supported by a job coach have significantly higher chances of gaining employment than those not being supported. This holds particularly true for the youngest age-group. Furthermore, results also indicate that job coaching improves clients’ chances of successfully sustaining employment. Conclusions: Personal approaches and individual coaching seem to be promising strategies in social work practice and specifically in return to work programs for people who have experienced homelessness.