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Fostering AccountabilityUsing Evidence to Guide and Improve Child Welfare Policy$
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Mark F. Testa and John Poertner

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195321302

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195321302.001.0001

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Evaluation of Child Welfare Interventions

Evaluation of Child Welfare Interventions

(p.195) 7 Evaluation of Child Welfare Interventions
Fostering Accountability

Mark F. Testa

Oxford University Press

This chapter lays out an evaluative framework for assessing the internal validity of promising interventions, which is sufficiently robust to withstand credible challenges to inferences about causality, such as the average causal effect of an intervention on outcomes. A key claim is that randomized controlled experiments should be and can be implemented more routinely in child welfare than is currently the practice. Uncontrolled experimentation on vulnerable children and families by well-meaning child welfare agents is no more ethical than controlled experimentation that seeks to improve the validity of knowledge and the efficacy of practice and policy. This is especially important when empirical support is as tenuous as it currently is for many existing practices and policies in child welfare.

Keywords:   child welfare policy, social interventions, randomized controlled trials, social work practice

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