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Perspectives on the implementation of an evidence-based neglect program within child welfare

Kelly Weegar, Jessie Moorman, Lauren Stenason and Elisa Romano

Children and Youth Services Review, 2018, vol. 93, issue C, 474-483

Abstract: In child welfare in Ontario (Canada), neglect is a major concern due to high incidence rates compared with other maltreatment types. This qualitative study examines child welfare service directors' and providers' experiences with implementing the SafeCare® program, an evidence-based intervention that is aimed toward the prevention of child neglect. Service directors (n = 9) and providers (n = 15) were recruited from six Ontario child welfare agencies that had been delivering SafeCare for 1.5 years. Data were gathered using semi-structured focus groups which asked about reasons for adopting SafeCare, positive experiences and challenges with implementation, and SafeCare's sustainability within agencies. Overall, service directors and providers rated SafeCare as a valuable program that contributed to positive outcomes for participants (e.g., family reunification), providers (e.g., enhanced skills), and the agency (e.g., increased value). Among the factors that contributed to a positive implementation experience were the structured and skills-based approach of SafeCare, as well as the flexibility to meet the diverse needs of families. Service directors also described SafeCare as a vehicle for changing views and increasing enthusiasm among providers and the agency toward evidence-based practices within child welfare. In terms of challenges, service directors and providers noted limited financial resources for continued training in the program as well as reluctance toward certain aspects of SafeCare (e.g., audio recording). Findings are important for purposes of refining SafeCare's implementation and better ensuring its sustainability within Ontario child welfare. Findings also provide important information about family-, provider-, and agency-level variables that play a role in successful program implementation and sustainability, as well as in changing perspectives and ensuring the engagement of child welfare toward structured evidence-based programs.

Keywords: Child welfare; Child neglect; Evidence-based program; Qualitative analysis (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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