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Developing and adapting evidence-based social work interventions in the UK: the example of Families And Schools Together (FAST). Dr. Lynn McDonald, Brunel University Dr. Mary Pat Sullivan, Brunel University Dr. Donald Forrester, University of Bedfordshire. Aims of Workshop.

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Developing and adapting evidence-based social work interventions in the UK: the example of Families And Schools Together (FAST)

Dr. Lynn McDonald, Brunel UniversityDr. Mary Pat Sullivan, Brunel UniversityDr. Donald Forrester, University of Bedfordshire

aims of workshop
Aims of Workshop
  • To explore issues in developing and delivering “evidence based” interventions
  • FAST used as an example – the workshop is not about FAST but about EBP
  • Aim to explore EBP in theory and practice
  • Concerned at lack of social work involvement in producing evidence based approaches
what is ebp
What is EBP?

“the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions regarding the welfare of those in need”

Sheldon and Chilvers 2002

  • Seems self-evidently a good idea
  • Yet topic of great controversy
nature of ebp
Nature of EBP
  • Based on medical approach
  • Within this Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) seen as the “gold standard”
    • Develop evidence with generalisable applicability
social model critique
Social Model critique
  • Social model critical of terms used – this makes RCT approach problematic
    • Child abuse not the same as cholera
  • Tendency to individualise problems – RCTs rarely consider social change
criticisms of scientific method
Criticisms of scientific method

Particularly RCTs

  • RCTs of psycho-social interventions not generalisable in same way
    • Context vital for RCTs
    • Problematises interpretation of evidence
criticisms of values
Criticisms of values

At odds with those of social work?

  • Doing EBP “to” – not with – service users. What of the voice of the client?
  • EBP perhaps ignores issues of difference eg race, gender, sexuality etc.
  • The individual-in-society infinitely complex and therefore “one size fits all” not possible
  • EBP tool of managerialism – central control and “manualisation” of practice
reconceptualising ebp
Reconceptualising EBP
  • These criticisms all apply to EBP as it may be or is

– not as it could - or SHOULD - be

  • Reconceptualisation of EBP needs to:
    • Take account of “social model” in defining, understanding and intervening
    • Understand the strengths AND limitations of RCTs
    • Be consistent with social work values
ebp and fast
  • Families and Schools Together – a social work “evidence based” approach
  • Want to explore:
    • How FAST developed
    • The social model and social work values in an evidence based approach
    • Issues around generalisability and adaptation