Evidence Informed Practice

Evidence-informed practices use the best available research and practice knowledge to guide program design and implementation. This informed practice allows for innovation while incorporating the lessons learned from the existing research literature. Ideally, evidence-based and evidence-informed programs and practices should be responsive to families' cultural backgrounds, community values, and individual preferences. (credit Child Welfare Information Gateway).

Our agency believes in grounding our services in knowledge, promoting critical thinking and applying interventions that are research based.   

What we are doing:

  1. Networks

    We have developed networks within our agency to build on our knowledge and practice wisdom in specific areas and to create community links.  Our networks include areas of focus in:  domestic violence, high risk infants, substance use, mental health, adolescents, neglect and sexual abuse. 

  2. Conferencing

    A respectful process for families to come together with their support persons, community service providers and CAS worker. The objective is to reach mutual agreement on what needs to happen or what steps need to be taken to keep children safe and families strong.

     The process involves an open discussion of family strengths and child protection concerns, while respecting cultural and religious differences. The goal is to develop solutions that meet the needs of the child and family.

     It is a voluntary process that is of benefit to the family because it honors their own decision making abilities.

    We bring together workers, family, support networks and community professionals for case conferences to plan together for the children and youth we serve. 

  3. Journal Club

    With professional topics of interest, book and journal club encourages diverse thinking and opinions among child welfare professionals, in an alternative format. 

  4. Data

    How is data used in child welfare?

    To conduct program evaluations, influence policy, and to inform advocacy strategies.

    Some examples of Ontario service data that are publicly available are:

    The Ontario Looking After Children project (OnLAC):

    Children’s Aid Societies have been providing data to the OnLAC database, housed at the University of Ottawa, since 2000. The data come from the detailed assessment that CAS workers fill out for each child who has been in care for more than a year, and covers health, education, identity, family and social relationships, social presentation, emotional and behavioural development, and self-care skills. This data is used by Children’s Aid Societies to inform strategies for improvement. To read the OnLAC summary report for Year 16 (January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016) click here.

    Ontario Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect (OIS):

    The University of Toronto Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work conducts the Ontario Incidence Study every five years. This study examines the incidences of substantiated maltreatment at Children’s Aid Societies. There have been five cycles of the study, conducted in 1993, 1998, 2003, 2008, and 2013. These studies can be accessed through the Canadian Child Welfare Research Portal which provides access to up-to-date research on Canadian child welfare programs. (credit OACAS)

  5. PART membership

PART (Practice and Research Together) is a Canadian membership-based knowledge translation organization. PART’s core function is to distill and disseminate practice-relevant research findings to child welfare practitioners including child welfare practitioners, supervisors, senior leaders, and foster caregivers. PART promotes the use of research through evidence-informed practice by producing a variety of innovative resources including: literature reviews, webinars, large scale conferences, practice guidebooks, and electronic access to research and academic journals. PART also provides support to individual member agencies as they implement evidence-informed practice. (credit PART)


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