Supporting evidence-informed practice with children and families
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Evidence bank

This section contains summary reports of research reviews, the content of which relates to the Every Child Matters agenda.

The reports contained here will help you critically assess the value of a review. Each one includes a brief description of the research method and a summary that maps the scope and content. We strongly advise you to purchase a full text copy of any review you intend to use as evidence in a policy or practice context.

Screening Efficiency of the Child Behaviour Checklist and Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire: A Systematic Review

29 January 2014

The goal of the review was to assess the performance of each of these scales in identifying high levels of of psychiatric symptoms in children and young people. A total of 29 studies relating to CBCL and 3 studies relating to SDQ met the inclusion criteria for the review. These studies included diagnostic data from either a structured interview or a clinician's diagnosis which could be compared with the results from the scales.

Fostering Family Resiliency: A review of the key protective factors

16 January 2009

Although there is a significant amount of literature around family risk and protective factors, the reasons for some families thriving and others struggling are unclear. This is partly due to the lack of synthesis of the main risk and protective factors that influence family outcomes. Resilience does not develop through the avoidance of problems, but through effective use of protective factors to cope with adverse events. The review focuses on protective factors for two reasons: 1) there is a greater diversity and complexity of family relationships due to increased divorce rates and single-parent households; 2) policymakers have placed significant emphasis on the fact that promotion, prevention and early intervention are more cost-effective than treating families already in crisis. By pulling together protective factors into a systematic review, the authors hope to inform the development of holistic interventions to improve outcomes for children and families.

Fostering security? A meta-analysis of attachment in adopted children

15 January 2009

The research addresses the question of whether adopted children are more or less securely attached than children either raised by their biological parents or children in foster care. Two series of meta-analyses were conducted, one using only observational assessments of attachment and one using both observational and self-report assessments. The observational assessments showed that children adopted before 12 months of age were as securely attached as their non-adopted peers. Those adopted after their first birthday showed less attachment security than non-adopted children. Foster children showed comparable levels of attachment security to adopted children.

Is Aggression in Children Associated with Television Viewing and Video Game Playing? A systematic review

11 January 2009

There is much current concern about the prevalence of behavioural and emotional difficulties in children and young people. The media has put a lot of emphasis on the influence of television and video games on young people, and the possible link with emotional and behavioural disorders. However, a 2008 review published by the DCSF and Department for Culture, Media and Sport, highlighted the fact that much research on this topic is inconclusive. This systematic review therefore focuses on two possible links: •between aggressive content in television or video games, and aggression in children and young people with emotional and behavioural difficulties. •between the amount of television watching or video game playing, and aggression in children and young people with emotional and behavioural difficulties. It aims to examine the validity and quality of research in these two areas, and to investigate whether it is possible to draw any definite conclusions from this research.

Better Outcomes for Children and Young People Experiencing Domestic Abuse – Directions for Good Practice

25 January 2008

The National Strategy to Address Domestic Abuse in Scotland acknowledges the correlation between domestic abuse and the mental, physical and sexual abuse of children. The reform of children’s services in Scotland includes the development and implementation of a delivery plan focussed on better outcomes for children and young people affected by domestic abuse. This international literature review aims to provide an evidence base to support directions for good practice, and includes a chapter on qualitative evidence from Scottish children’s own perspectives on experiencing domestic abuse.

Research Review: In a rush to permanency: preventing adoption disruption

16 January 2008

The number of children adopted from foster care in the UK and the US rose significantly between 1998 and 2002. As a result, policies in both countries have placed increasing emphasis in the last decade on improving permanency outcomes for children placed for adoption. This review uses research evidence, mostly from the US, to identify the factors that have been shown to contribute to adoption stability and disruption. It concludes with a series of recommendations for policy and practice.The findings of this review were split into three sections, focusing on factors relating to the child, the adoptive family and the agency, before concluding with some recommendations for policy and practice.

Maternal and Paternal Drug Misuse and Outcomes for Children: Identifying Risk and Protective Factors

10 January 2008

Associations between parental drug misuse and child abuse/neglect and involvement in care proceedings are frequently observed in practice, and Every Child Matters policy emphasises the need to improve service co-operation to provide 'holistic responses to those who are using drugs or affected by the drug use of others'. Scaife discusses the analysis of risk and protective factors in relation to parental drug misuse.

Under one roof: A review and selective meta-analysis on the outcomes of residential child and youth care

10 January 2008

The authors identify a need to leave behind the idea that residential placement is a 'last resort' and to establish, on the basis of research evidence, in which situations a temporary stay in residential care can be a 'meaningful and effective intervention'. The authors reviewed recent literature from a number of western countries for evidence about outcomes of residential child and youth care facilities.

Collaboration, integration and change in children's services: Critical issues and key ingredients

22 March 2007

The paper describes 5 levels of collaborative arrangements and considers some of the major problems associated with collaboration and the limitations to current research in this area. 'The focus of the paper is a detailed examination of the frameworks, challenges and implications' of moves to integrated services for children vulnerable to abuse.

Cost Benefit Analysis of Interventions with Parents

19 January 2007

Parenting interventions were classified depending on whether they focused on 'who the parent is' or 'what the parent does'. These initiatives were split into four categories based on the factor they are aiming to change which were: •Parental income •Parental involvement •Parental behaviour - home visitation •Parental behaviour - parent training

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