Current Projects

Child Protective Services Organizational Environment, Practice, & Outcomes

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council; British Columbia Ministry of Children and Family Development

PI: Dr. Susan J. Wells

The purpose of this project is to determine the relationships among organizational environment, approach to practice, and case outcomes in a diverse array of CPS local Ministry offices and delegated Aboriginal agencies in British Columbia. This mixed methods study will assess the organizational climate and evaluate the relationship among agency climate, approach to practice, and case outcomes (e.g. re-reporting and/or re-entry rates). At its completion, this project will identify and describe a more complex and informative picture of the relationships among environment, practice, and case outcomes. With this knowledge, practitioners, managers, and policy makers will be able to review their own agencies and practices to determine ways in which they can begin to make lasting improvements to the quality of practice in diverse agencies. This project will also identify general site profiles using the observed levels and configurations of key organizational factors. BC will have more direction in supporting structural and procedural changes that may support innovations in service delivery; professionals in the field will have additional knowledge to support agency and case consultation. The findings and methodology of this study will also help advance the dialogue concerning factors related to promoting practice excellence. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, this information will further support and promote the practice of CPS, worker retention, and also improved and consistent outcomes for children.

Excellence in Child Welfare Practice

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council; British Columbia Ministry of Children and Family Development

PI: Dr. Susan J. Wells

During the study of innovation in public social service delivery, the researchers discovered that certain child welfare sites stood out with respect to how staff across the spectrum spoke of working to improve their practice. Using cross-site analyses and pattern matching with the qualitative data from the site visits, we sought to identify and discuss commonalities and differences among these exemplar sites regarding approach to practice, practice strengths, and challenges identified by workers. The goal of this project was to identify mechanisms by which public child welfare agencies could foster a local commitment to practice excellence.

Building Capacity to Investigate Interprofessional Child Welfare Expertise: A research project in association with the Centre for the Study of Services to Children and Families

PI: Dr. Judy Gillespi

Research indicates that many professionals find child welfare to be one of the most stressful aspects of their practice and one for which they feel poorly prepared; acquisition of expertise for the complexity of interprofessional child welfare practice is thus a critical question that has received limited empirical study.

This research will facilitate investigation of how interprofessional child welfare expertise is acquired. This will occur through two steps: First, an extensive review and synthesis of existing literature to inform a theoretical framework regarding interprofessional child welfare expertise and second, development of research methods and tools to enable examination of expertise within and across various professional groups and jurisdictional contexts. A third step in the research is the development of an international, cross-jurisdictional, multidisciplinary research partnership that will then enable implementation of such examination.

A minimum of three graduate students from three different disciplines will be involved in this research (Nursing, Education, and Social Work); this involvement will offer students valuable research knowledge and skills as well as strong interprofessional practice knowledge and experience working in collaborative multidisciplinary teams.