When introducing a new evidence-based program into the child welfare system, it is critical to educate not just the private workers who may implement it but also the public workers who are responsible for referring parents to programs.
Researchers at the Georgia State University School of Public Health reached that conclusion after conducting a survey of more than 200 public child welfare workers in Georgia about their knowledge of SafeCare, an evidence-based, in-home parenting program that has been shown to reduce child maltreatment. The National SafeCare Training and Research Center is housed at the Center for Healthy Development at the School of Public health.
Dr. Daniel J. Whitaker, professor of health promotion and behavior, was lead author of the study titled “Public child welfare staff knowledge, attitudes, and referral behaviors for an evidence based parenting practice” published in Psychosocial Intervention.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 675,000 children are victims of maltreatment each year. There also have been mandates from federal, state and local child welfare agencies to use evidence-based programs, such as SafeCare, to curb abuse and neglect.
Child welfare systems in many states are organized so that public child welfare staff investigate allegations of abuse and provide service referrals, while private staff at community-based agencies often provide the interventions. Training on evidence-based programs has typically has focused on the private workers, who delivery most services.
Additional authors of the study are Ms. Jessica S. Rogers-Brown; Ms, Melissa Cowart-Osborne; Dr. Shannon Self-Brown, professor; and Dr. John R. Lutzker, professor and director of the Center for Healthy Development.
To read the full study, go to: