Why improving child welfare starts with evidence

What can child welfare professionals expect from Global Evidence and Implementation Summit (GEIS) 2018? We asked the GEIS sector co-lead and Campbell editor Aron Shlonsky, Professor of Evidence-Informed Practice at the University of Melbourne, to share his thoughts on why this summit is both valuable and timely.

How is the role of evidence changing in the child welfare sector?

“We are starting to talk about what it takes to actively use evidence in practice and policy. We've also begun making promising programs and services available. It's the beginning of a revolution in the generation and use of evidence in this field.”

How can generating and using robust evidence improve child welfare and services?

“Study after study shows that having evidence is insufficient unless we know its quality and how it fits with other potentially important evidence. The generation and use of better evidence, including systematic reviews of high-quality primary studies and a focus on outcomes, helps us make decisions, avoid mistakes and create effective services that lead to better outcomes for children and families.”

Why is GEIS 2018 a valuable event for the child welfare sector?

“We have all been stressing the importance of evidence-informed practice, but it turns out that people only benefit from effective services if they receive them. GEIS 2018 will focus on two major strands – evidence and implementation – providing delegates with much of the information they need to generate, collect, synthesise and translate high-quality evidence for decision-making in practice and policy.”

Aron Shlonsky will lead the sector of child welfare at GEIS alongside Julia Littell, Professor at the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research at Bryn Mawr College (USA). They have both contributed to systematic reviews about child welfare in the Campbell Library.

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