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DJI Approach to Good Practice

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  1. DJI Approach to Good Practice Scie International Seminar: Good Practice Heinz Kindler / Eric van Santen

  2. Context for the development of Good Practice in Germany • Social Services are organized at a community level • Outside the area of care for elder citizens there is hardly any review and audit system • Little government commitment to evidence based practice • Low methodological standards in German social work research

  3. Low methodological standards in German Social Work publications • Analysis of 5 volumes of the 5 most important social work journals (n>500 articles) • Rating system according to Rosen et al (1999) with six categories: • Non empirical 412 82% • Illustrative 46 9% • Descriptive 39 8% • Explanatory 4 0.8% • Controlled 2 0.2% • Systematic review 0 0.0%

  4. Methodological standards regarding „best practice“ in German social work • Minimal methodological requirements: Some kind of comparison of a range of different practices with regard to one or more outcome criteria • Literature search in a German social work database after publications with „best practice“ in the title (n=8) • Minimal methodological requirements • Not met 6 75% • Partly met 2 25% • Met 0 0% • In most cases „best practice“ is just a word for practice that sounds good or is felt to be innovative

  5. Dissemination of the Concepts

  6. The DJI (German Youth Institute) • About 140 researchers, located in Munich and Halle, founded 1963, 2008: 66 projects • Mostly financed by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ): 7,8 Mio. € in 2008, additional 8 Mio. from other sources • Research for politicians and practitioners on children, youth and families, including family and child welfare services • No unitary approach but constant work and discussion on research approaches to evidence

  7. Authorities in child and youth services

  8. Cooperation between the statutory and the non-statutory sector • Basic principle Statutory and non-statutory youth services shall cooperate on a basis of partnership. • Precedence of the non-statutory youth services (Principle of subsidiarity) Where the non-statutory youth services can discharge suitable functions the statutory sector shall refrain from activities of its own. • Overall responsibility of the statutory sector The statutory sector, i.e. the youth office, has the overall responsiblity for child and youth services.

  9. The Area of the 600 Youth Offices in Germany

  10. Effects of Local Responsibility • youth offices develope very different politics • the width of the product range differs • the quantity of the provisions differs • different cultures of appropriateness This leads to very different levels of usage of youth care provisions

  11. New cases residential care; young people up to 18

  12. Example 1 of the DJI Approach:Risk assessment in child protection practice • Rated as one of the top three problems in three workshps with child protection practitioners • Two non-systematic reviews (Kindler 2006) • Development of a risk assessment module in cooperation with two children and youth authorities • Testing phase 1: Reliability, incremental prognostic valididty, acceptance (Kindler et al. 2008, Reich et al. 2009) • Testing phase 2 (one year later): Acceptance, redundancies, most common errors and misunderstandings • Still missing: Comparison with other RA-methods in Germany

  13. Incremental prognostic validity • One page risk assessment instrument (21 risk factors) • 60 child protection case files already open before the instrument was introduced • Risk analysis based on the first 3 months of the file, independent case progress analysis with „Child Welfare Outcome Indicator Matrix“ (Trocmé et al. 1999), e.g. additional maltreatment episode • Structured risk assessment predicted additional maltreatment and maltreatment related injuries of children in the family over and above unstructured case worker risk intuition

  14. 5 risk factors predicted later maltreatment related injury of a child in the family: Maltreatment related injury Mother maltreated as child .30* Mother addicted / psychiatric illness .22+ Father maladaptive coping .29* Prior Maltreatment .24* Parents underestimate risk .25*

  15. Example 2 of the DJI approach:Reunification of foster children • Foster care workers do not rate reunification as top problem, but several high court decisions demand more reunification efforts • Collecting data on reunification base rates (van Santen), international comparison data (e.g. Thoburn 2007) • Field research: reunification processes (n=29, follow-up period: 1yr), what decision criteria are used by practitioners and what is done to support reunifications processes (telephone interviews) • Field search for projects aimed to support successful reunifications, 2 projects where contracted for writing a report on their practice • Ongoing systematic review on validated prognostic critieria, creation of 2 instruments (barriers to reunification, prognosis)

  16. Summary 1: Our answers to the SCIE questions • Is there a sufficiently robust evidence base to identify good practice? • Generally not; Germany is just doing the first steps to build up ebp; threats to validity, meta-analysis and systematic review techniques are hardly known, there is growing interest in international collaboration

  17. Summary 2: Our answers to the SCIE questions • Political Issues: • In the small area of early child welfare services there is a national agency (NZFH), doing a good job to create an evidence base (e.g. 3 RCT‘s), there is some policy support, but connections to the science organisations are weak, practitioners seem to be divided about gp, seeking support but being critical against controll and accountability

  18. Summary 3: Our answers to the SCIE questions • Delivery mechanisms I: Handbook • First experience with a web-based and printed on Handbook on child endangerment are very positive, several project data-bases (not evaluated), policy frameworks support gp for some time in specific areas (e.g. foster care), professional codes are generally gp friendly but are not strongly supported


  20. Summary 3: Our answers to the SCIE questions • Delivery mechanisms II: Promoting Evaluation • Identifying completed and ongoing evaluation studies in Germany • Analysing and systematising these studies • Preparing the information obtained for storage in a Database • Stimulating and monitoring the evaluation discussion • Encouraging the interdisciplinary exchange of experience among stakeholders involved in and affected by evaluations • Counselling on designing and implementing evaluations at the federal level • Developing and advancing external evaluation concepts and strategies in child and youth services • Advancing evaluation standards within the framework of the German Evaluation Society (DeGEval - Gesellschaft für Evaluation) • Establishing international collaboration and research contacts and transfer of experience • Events such as expert meetings, workshops and expert hearings • Publications documentation and internet service

  21. Summary 3: Our answers to the SCIE questions • Delivery mechanisms III: Databases (GP) • Research on Childcare • Schools and their Partners • Youth and Work • Gendermainstreaming in Youth Welfare Services • Social Integration of Marginalized Young People • Prevention of School Fatigue and Refusal