Sunday, 16 January 2005 - 8:45 AM
This presentation is part of: Organization of Social Services
Integrating Empirical Practice Procedures: ‘Clear Box’ Evaluations In Four Major Local Authority Social Services In Two CountriesMansoor A. F. Kazi, PhD, University of Huddersfield.
PURPOSE This paper presents the findings from the integration of ‘Clear Box’ empirical practice procedures in four major local authority social services agencies: the first two in Helsinki and Vantaa (Finland), the third in Leeds (England) and the fourth in the regional, largely rural Moray Council (Scotland). The paper is based on findings from the development of evidence-based practice in the first two years in these four areas.
METHOD The method included the integration of single-subject designs into the social workers’ practice to systematically track outcomes, the systematic tracking of interventions, and the systematic tracking of factors in the circumstances of service users, with the help of SPSS databases. In all of these studies, the findings were aggregated and binary logistic regression models were used to investigate what interventions worked and in what circumstances.
RESULTS The databases include hundreds of cases in the two years where published standardised measures were used repeatedly. In some circumstances, new outcome measures were developed and validated where the practitioners were not happy with the measures available. For example, a well-being measure was developed for children and families in Finland, with a reliability alpha of .84, contributing to the repertoire of outcome measures in the Finnish language. In all four studies, it was found that the interventions were effective in a large majority of the cases. Binary logistic regression analysis indicated the circumstances in which the interventions were more or less likely to be effective. For example, Leeds Therapeutic team’s interventions were more likely to be effective in smaller families and where there were no statutory orders. Where there was agreement with the parents on the content of the interventions, the programmes were nine times more likely to be effective then where such an agreement was not present. In Vantaa, the interventions were more effective where the target problems were based on child welfare issues and where social security welfare benefits were not involved. It was also found that the interventions were less likely to work where criminal convictions were involved. In Moray Council, the Youth Justice team were more likely to be effective in improving the behaviour of young people generally, but less effective where there were problems of substance misuse.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE The integration of ‘clear box’ empirical procedures in the daily practice of social work agencies have enabled an investigation of what interventions work and in what circumstances, encouraging the targeting of interventions where they are found to be effective, and the development of new interventions in circumstances where the agencies are found to be less effective. These findings represent an advance in the development of evidence-based practice in social work practice.
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