Use of data to assess performance and promote outcome achievement by public and private child welfare agency staff

Journal article citation:
Children and Youth Services Review, 33(2), February 2011, pp.330-339.

There is a need for child welfare workers to use evidence such as peer record review, supervisory sessions or program evaluation to assess the effectiveness of their practice and to improve their performance. The aim of this study was to examine perceptions of frontline child welfare staff regarding evidence-informed practice, exploring an array of types of evidence available within the agency environment, and the extent to which they are engaging in such practices in their day-to-day work. An electronic survey was administered to both public and private sector staff in order to allow a comparison of differences across the sectors. Responses were received by 466 public agency staff and 85 private agency staff. This paper focuses on 15 questions regarding the respondents’ use of data in promoting outcomes for children. The relationship between staff's use of data and their assessment of their own skill and the support provided by their agency for an array of out-of-home care practice activities are described. The findings showed statistically significant differences between the public and private agency staff, with private agency staff reporting agency support and more time available to use data to promote effective practice. Implications for building the use of evidence-informed practice in child welfare are discussed.

Subject terms:
organisational learning, outcomes, private sector, public sector, child protection, evidence-based practice;
Content type:
United States
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