While previous studies have offered insight into evidence-based practices that are effective in promoting safety and well-being, the underlying contextual implementation conditions that influence these outcomes in child welfare agencies are less understood. To address this gap, this study relied on organizational survey data collected from child welfare workers and supervisors during the process of implementing an evidence-based practice—the Positive Parenting Program—and merged those data with data gathered by the Parents' Assessment of Protective Factors survey.
Results showed a significant increase between baseline and termination of services in social connections and overall protective factors index scores. Parents who received services from organizations inclusive of supportive leadership experienced greater increases in social connections. Lower protective factors index scores were associated with workers’ perception that evidence-based practices were required; however, scores increased as supportive leadership increased. Parents who identified as African American experienced lower protective factors index scores compared to parents in other racial categories. Parents who were engaged with workers who felt evidence-based practices were appealing were likely to experience greater increases in protective factors index scores.
Intended client outcomes are more likely to be achieved when agency leaders (1) provide workers support to learn and use evidence-based practices and (2) rely on methods to increase evidence-based practice appeal rather than mandate implementation. Future research is needed to (1) understand why the implementation contexts or Positive Parenting Program itself are not as effective for African Americans as they are for oteher racial/ethnic groups and (2) validate findings in other agency contexts and with other evidence-based practices.