In this article we discuss evidence-based elements of effective in-home child welfare services as a foundation for advancing the evidence base for family-centered child welfare practice. In 2009 the U.S. Children’s Bureau established the National Resource Center for In-Home Services to build the capacity of state and tribal child welfare agencies to ensure the safety and well-being of children and youth in their homes, prevent their initial placement or re-entry into out-of-home care, and to support families in their role as primary caregivers. Through a nationwide assessment of in-home services conducted over four years of research and technical assistance, we developed a set of core elements for in-home services. These core elements are supported by empirical research and are congruent with evidence-based practices and programs. We review each of the elements with its underlying research base. We also discuss five evidence-supported in-home services interventions that share many of the elements. We conclude with a discussion of how evidence-based elements can be implemented to strengthen family centered child welfare practice.
Key Take Away Points
- We present a matrix and detailed discussion of evidence-based elements of effective child welfare in-home services.
- The matrix was developed as a result of a nationwide assessment and provision of technical assistance to states and tribes to build capacity to keep children safe and well at home, as part of the Children’s Bureau funded National Resource Center for In-Home Services.
- We discuss five evidence-supported in-home services interventions that share many of the elements.
- We discuss strategies for implementing evidence-based elements in family-centered child welfare practice.
Lisa Easley D’Aunno, JD, is Director of Training at the National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice and adjunct associate professor at the University of Iowa School of Social Work. Lisa was the project director for the National Resource Center for In-Home Services, a service of the Children’s Bureau. As an attorney, social work administrator, and trainer, Lisa has worked exclusively in child welfare and child custody issues. Ms. D’Aunno was formerly Director of Best Practice Projects for the Illinois DCFS Office of the Inspector General. She taught law and social work at the University of Chicago School of Social Services Administration, and was an assistant clinical professor in the Michigan Child Advocacy Law Clinic and co-director of the Interdisciplinary Project on Child Abuse and Neglect at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. Lisa has published articles on child welfare decision-making in substance abuse cases, paternal involvement, transitioning youth, and child welfare supervision.
Shamra Boel-Studt, PhD, MSW, is Research Associate at the National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice. For the past six years Ms. Boel-Studt’s work at the NRC has included research, evaluation, providing technical assistance, and curriculum development related to the delivery of child welfare services. Her research is in the areas of child welfare, with a specific focus on youth in residential treatment, and youth victimization and trauma. In addition to her dissertation, Ms. Boel-Studt is currently the lead on two other studies of residential treatment, including an evaluation of a trauma-informed model of residential treatment. Her work in these areas has resulted in multiple publications in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at national conferences. Prior to the NRC, she worked with adolescent males in a comprehensive group care facility and in an intensive residential treatment program for adolescent males with sexual behavior problems.
Miriam J. Landsman, PhD, MSW, is associate professor of social work and Executive Director of the National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice at the University of Iowa. She was the Principal Investigator for the National Resource Center for In-Home Services, part of the Children’s Bureau’s Training and Technical Assistance Network, the Principal Investigator for the Children’s Bureau funded grant on improving recruitment and retention in public child welfare and a member of the executive steering committee for the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute. Professor Landsman has published numerous articles on the child welfare workforce and on family-centered child welfare practice.
We thank Krystine Lange for her work on the NRC for In-Home Services nationwide assessment, including her descriptions of the in-home services elements which are used in this article. We also thank Carolyn Hartley for her contribution to the literature review. This research was supported with funding for the National Resource Center for In-Home Services, a cooperative agreement between the Children’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the University of Iowa School of Social Work, Grant No. 90CZ0017. The conclusions of the authors do not reflect the opinions of the Children’s Bureau.
D'Aunno, Lisa E.; Boel-Studt, Shamra; and Landsman, Miriam J.
"Evidence-Based Elements of Child Welfare In-Home Services,"
Journal of Family Strengths: Vol. 14
, Article 3.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/jfs/vol14/iss1/3