Evaluation methodology: Child protection

The latest material added to the Australian Institute of Family Studies library database is displayed, up to a maximum of 30 items. Where available online, a link to the document is provided. Many items can be borrowed from the Institute's library via the Interlibrary loan system.

See more resources on Evaluation methodology: Child protection in the AIFS library catalogue

Recruiting young adults to child maltreatment research through Facebook : a feasibility study.

Parkinson S and Bromfield L
Child Abuse and Neglect v. 37 no. 9 Sep 2013: 716-720
This article looks at the viability of using social media websites such as Facebook to recruit young adults for sensitive research. It presents learnings from a small-scale exploratory study from South Australia that investigated whether Facebook could deliver a representative sample for a research study on child abuse.

Keep Them Safe evaluation framework: final report

Adamson E, Bromfield L, Edwards B, Gray M, Hilferty F, Katz I, McDonald M, McHugh M and Valentine K
Sydney, N.S.W. : Dept. of Premier & Cabinet, 2010.
'Keep Them Safe: A shared approach to child wellbeing' is the New South Wales Government's five-year plan to change the way children and families are supported and protected. This evaluation framework was commissioned to provide an approach to evaluating the overall impact and implementation of the Plan. The framework has been designed to establish consistent reporting requirements from key components of the action plan to assess the extent to which the plan has met its objectives of improving the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children in NSW, as well as evaluating why aspects of the reform have been successful or not, and processes for using the evaluation outcomes to adjust future approaches based on progressive evaluation findings. This document presents the framework, and features sections on meta-evaluation, results logic, outcomes evaluation, indicators framework, cross-cutting studies, process evaluation, economic evaluation, resource requirements, and key dates and timelines.

Fostering accountability : using evidence to guide and improve child welfare policy

Testa M and Poertner J
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2010.
"'Fostering Accountability' presents a model of child welfare decision making that holds public officials answerable for the integrity and validity of the actions they take on behalf of the children and families in their care. It operationalizes the concept of results-oriented accountability, which demands that administrators and practitioners show valid evidence of their success in improving child and family outcomes, not merely demonstrate mechanical procedural compliance. Drawing on the experiences of directors, staff, and evaluators, this timely and practical book describes the emergence of results-oriented accountability in child welfare with a special focus on the editors' role in establishing a university-agency research partnership under a federal consent decree. Chapters elaborate on the five successive stages of the results-oriented accountability framework-outcomes monitoring, data analysis, research review, evaluation, and quality improvement-and provide examples of applications of each stage for agency managers. By refocusing the emphasis on developing policies based on agency data, instead of purely reactive approaches that grasp at solutions and often fall short, Fostering Accountability guides administrators in monitoring outcomes, using evidence to select interventions to enhance results, and applying management strategies to evaluate and improve these efforts. The result is a pragmatic implementation guide for administrators seeking to bring safety, stability, continuity, permanence, and well-being to the lives of abused and neglected children in the United States. "

Evaluating child abuse and neglect intervention programs

Lamont A
Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2009.
Program evaluation is a key component to all child welfare and child protection intervention programs. A rigorous evaluation assists in improving service delivery and enables policy-makers and service providers to determine the effectiveness of an intervention program. This resource sheet provides an overview of the key aspects of program evaluation. It outlines different evaluation types, identifies the key elements to developing a rigorous evaluation and highlights possible limitations in evaluating interventions in the child welfare sector. This resource sheet updates and replaces an earlier version first published in December 2004.

Family support as reflective practice

Dolan P, Canavan J and Pinkerton J
London : Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2006.

Evidence-based policy : a realist perspective

Pawson R
London : SAGE Publications, 2006.
"Few major public policy interventions are mounted these days without a sustained attempt to 'evaluate' them. Programmes are tried and researched again and again. Yet it is often difficult to know which interventions, and which inquiries, will stand the test of time. [The author] argues that the solution, going by the name of 'evidence-based policy', is to take the longer view. Rather than relying on one-off studies, it is wiser to look to the 'weight of evidence' through the process of 'systematic review.' [The author criticises] the standard model of systematic review and in its place develops a 'realist synthesis' approach. He argues that the real purpose of systematic review is to test and refine programme theory. If we know why, and for whom and in what circumstances interventions work, they may be targeted and developed to counter an ever-changing landscape of social problems."

The effectiveness of parent education and home visiting child maltreatment prevention programs

Holzer P, Higgins J, Bromfield L, Richardson N and Higgins D
Melbourne : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2006.
This paper investigates the effectiveness of child maltreatment prevention programs. The paper begins with an overview of the different types of prevention programs (for example, primary / universal, secondary and tertiary interventions) and the way in which programs can be evaluated. Different modes of evaluation are described (that is, process, impact and outcome evaluations) and the benefits and limitations of adopting certain methodological approaches are outlined. Particular attention is given to two widely used prevention programs: parent education and home visiting programs. Parent education and home visiting program evaluations are critiqued in order to determine whether these programs are effective in preventing child maltreatment and the degree of evidence that exists to support these claims. The paper concludes by discussing the implications of the present findings and their applicability to practice.

Evaluating human service delivery through client outcomes.

O'Brien T
Evaluating human service delivery through client outcomes : 2005 AES International Conference. Lyneham, A.C.T. : Australasian Evaluation Society, 2005: 9p
This paper describes how evaluating client outcomes can be used in evaluating services. It discusses measuring outcomes, evaluation rationale of prevention and early intervention programs within the Queensland Department of Communities, and evaluation methodologies, and describes two of the pilot programs, Project Circuit Breaker, a crisis family support and child protection service in northern Brisbane, and the Mununjali Jymbi Centre, a family and community program for Aboriginal people in the Beaudesert region.

Benefit assessments in child welfare.

Izmir G and Robinson N
Ashfield, NSW : NSW Department of Community Services, Economics, Research and Information Directorate, 2004
A literature review on benefit assessments in child welfare and related fields is presented in this report, which then examines methods for undertaking benefit assessments of the services funded by the New South Wales Department of Community Services. The report analyses three market based valuation techniques, the surrogate market technique, and three survey based valuation techniques. These valuation techniques may be used individually or in combination to carry out program evaluation and make program funding decisions.

Are intensive family preservation services effective? Sorting the wheat from the chaff.

Kirk R
Intensive Family Services 5th National Practice Symposium : In partnership with families - stepping off the roundabout. Rose Bay, NSW : Matrix On Board, 2004: 27p
In this keynote presentation the author examines the effectiveness of intensive family preservation services (IFPS) and ways in which effectiveness is assessed. He covers past and present research attitudes towards IFPS, problems with measuring success through the rate of placement preventions, and the strengths and weaknesses of various methodological approaches used in IFPS studies.

The Columbus Pilot Project: developing a model for cost-outcome analysis on violence and child abuse cases in the Family Court of Western Australia.

Murphy P and Pike L
Journal of Family Studies v. 9 no. 2 Oct 2003 235-247
This article begins by summarising the Columbus Pilot Project, designed to evaluate a managed interdisciplinary approach to cases of domestic violence and child abuse in the Family Court of Western Australia. A working hypothesis informing the project is that, compared with traditional litigation processes, a managed interdisciplinary approach to these cases will yield outcomes more consistent with children's best interests at lower long-term cost to families, the community, and the Court. The main focus of the article is a progress report on evaluation design issues associated with mapping the costs in these cases.

Using action research to facilitate change in child protection services.

Seymour F
One child's reality - everyone's responsibility : 8th Australasian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, 19-22 November 2001 : conference proceedings. Melbourne : Dept. of Human Services, 2001: 6p
The authors have been involved over several years in the planning and development of services for child abuse investigation and therapy, including the development of multi agency (child advocacy) centres and education for court programs. They explain how the action research approach allows for the collaboration of researchers, service providers and clients in the analysis of a social problem and/or related social services. It also allows for the multiple roles demanded of the researcher in facilitation of change. The more common approaches of scientific inquiry and program evaluation assume a one way influence of science on practice, which may partially account for the low rates of utilisation of research knowledge and low participation in research by practitioners. Advantages and problems in action research are illustrated by reference to the child protection projects the authors are currently involved in.

Unlocking the essence of professional home visiting: a strengths approach to improved parenting.

Bryce H
In: Family Strengths: Everybody's Business, Everybody's Gain - The Second Australian Conference on Building Family Strengths, University of Newcastle, December 2001, 18p, Online only (61K)
What happens when a professional home visitor visits a family? What do those involved with professional home visiting value most? If one were to duplicate the essential components of this type of service, what would they need to know and do? Based on the professional home visiting model implemented by Northern Lakes Home Visiting, the authors of this paper address these questions. They begin by describing Northern Lakes Home Visiting, a service of UnitingCare Burnside. Its pilot phase extended from 1997 to 2000, and it continues to operate in the Northern Wyong Shire of NSW. The authors describe the development of the model, its context, theoretical framework and the type of service offered. They also question the usefulness of relying on negative-type indicators to assess services, which are philosophically strengths based.

Evaluating child abuse prevention programs

Tomison A
Melbourne : Australian Institute of Family Studies, c2000.
This paper provides an overview of the current state of program evaluation as it is applied to the field of child abuse prevention, the extent to which empirical evaluation has been used, and the degree to which programs have been shown to be effective. Some of the problems that hamper the rigorous evaluation of real world (in situ) applied social programs are discussed. A 'developmental' framework for the comprehensive evaluation of prevention programs is described, as are some alternative approaches that are capable of providing a more flexible response to the demands of evaluation.

Evaluation and stakeholders' perception.

Gravestock F
In Tucci, J. et al, eds. Agenda for change: solutions to problems in Australian child protection systems: selected conference papers. Clayton, Vic: Australians Against Child Abuse, and Child Abuse and Family Violence Research Unit, Monash University, 1999, p334-344, tables
Because they are reliant on government funding, donations and sponsorships, the authors believe, community based agencies now have to justify their program effectiveness to continue to receive this funding. A reliable evaluation model is an important tool in this process. The authors firstly define evaluation and the stakeholders concerns before giving an example of an effective evaluation. They observe that the reason welfare agencies may not have previously developed evaluation skills is that there has been little money available to do so and that a viable evaluation methodology had not been established. They describe a model used to evaluate the services provided by the Abused Child Trust.
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