Children's Voice Jan/Feb 2008

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Eight Steps to Program Change Through Evidence-Based Practice

  1. Identify existing data sources, such as the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information Systems (SACWIS), agency MIS, performance tracking system, quality assurance processes, state reports, and manual tracking tools.

  2. Disaggregate data by appropriate variables. Worker variables include county, work unit, catchment area, education of workers, time in job, and turnover rate; child and family variables include length of time in placement, age, race, special needs, and so on.

  3. Look at policy, practice, and system issues based on data. The data will lead to questions: Is our policy clear? Are practices consistent? Can agency systems like IT answer crucial questions?

  4. Meet with the agency team to determine where problems exist. Look at the data, policy analysis, and systems review to answer the question, "Where is our problem?"

  5. Review the evidence-based practice for the problem area. Target the search; look for what meets your agency needs, not just what is new and improved.

  6. Assess current agency practice against the selected evidence-based practice. How close is what you are doing already to what the evidence-based practice requires?

  7. Implement changes in policy or practice. Pick the programs or practices that have the greatest likelihood of creating positive change, given the strengths and needs of the agency.

  8. Evaluate the program. You have come full circle. Now you must evaluate the program to ensure you are getting the positive results promised by the evidence-based practice. Maybe you'll get better results, or maybe you will have work yet to do. Either way, you won't know until you evaluate.
This site provides general information about Title IV-E child welfare agency- university partnerships, including articles, curriculum, and legislative alerts.

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