The Centre for Solution Focused Practice

SF in Child Protection Services

A Solution-focused intervention in Child Protection Services

Antonio Medina, Mark Beyebach and Felipe E. García have published an important paper exploring «the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a solution-focused intervention in child protection services». Despite the methodological issues, which the authors highlight, this paper is both interesting and promising. You can download a pdf for free HERE

The purpose of this research was to evaluate the impact on child welfare of introducing solution-focused principles and intervention techniques in the local child protection service of the island of Tenerife, Spain. 152 workers from 34 local child protection teams participated in the study. Goal achievement, parents’ and children’s self-reported well-being, and statutory child welfare measures were recorded during one year. Then the child protection teams were randomly assigned to a control or an experimental condition. 73 workers in the experimental condition, serving 271 families, received 30 h of training and 30 h of supervision in solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT). 79 workers in the control condition, serving 206 families, continued to intervene as usual. The dependent variables were evaluated again in the experimental and in the control group one year after the supervision in SFBT had finished. Results indicate that the experimental and the control group had equivalent outcomes at pre-test. At post-test, the experimental group achieved better outcomes than the control group: workers’ and parents’ goal achievement ratings as well as parents’ and children well-being ratings were higher, fewer cases had been referred to risk teams, fewer children had been removed from their homes and recidivism was lower. The effects were small for goal achievement, medium for recidivism, and large for well-being and child removal. The teams that used SFBT reached these outcomes with fewer sessions and allocating fewer additional resources than the control group.


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