Cluster: Social Work Practice
Diane DePanfilis, PhD, MSW, University of Maryland at Baltimore
Saturday, January 16, 2010: 2:30 PM-4:15 PM
Pacific Concourse M (Hyatt Regency)
Family Connections (FC) is a multi-faceted social work intervention originally developed in 1996 and tested to work with families in their homes in the context of their neighborhoods to help them meet the basic needs of their children and prevent child maltreatment. FC has been recognized as a promising intervention by the USDHHS Office on Child Abuse and Neglect and the California Evidence Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare. As part of a 2003 initiative under the USDHHS, Children's Bureau's discretionary grants program, eight agencies were awarded five-year cooperative agreements to replicate the critical components of Family Connections (FC) in their local communities. Agencies implemented FC with diverse target populations representing different ethnic groups, in rural versus urban settings, and in multiple locations across the United States. The purpose of this symposium is to report on the results of a cross-site evaluation to assess the fidelity of replication, to evaluate change over time in intermediate outcomes (protective and risk factors), and to evaluate the degree to which programs were successful preventing child maltreatment as measured by reports to Child Protective Services (CPS) agencies. Proposed are three inter-related papers that report on the replication of FC in diverse communities in the United States. PAPER 1: The first paper addresses the degree to which each program implemented the FC program with fidelity. Methods to establish and operationalize fidelity criteria are described followed by a description of methods for assessing the core components of this social work intervention including how well each program conducted initial comprehensive family assessments and developed service plans that were specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time limited (SMART). PAPER 2: The second paper reports on an examination of the outcome trajectories for 802 families as they moved from intake, through service completion, and to six months following completion of services. Families were randomly assigned to varied treatment conditions and sites employed a common set of standardized self-report and observational assessment measures to assess changes in risk and protective factors over time. PAPER 3: The third paper compares the relative success of these replicating sites in preventing child maltreatment as measured by CPS reports. Site differences and other characteristics were used to predict the time to CPS report using survival analysis. Discussion across these papers will consider the complexities of multi-site replications of multi-faceted social work interventions. Issues of defining, measuring, and evaluating fidelity will be considered as important factors that impact the evaluation of intermediate and final outcomes. Participants will be engaged in a discussion of the methodological challenges in comparing results across programs even when sites use common assessment measures as well as the opportunities for social work scholars to implement rigorous methods to develop and test social work interventions.
* noted as presenting author
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