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Evidence-Based Practice

"[W]hen we intervene in the lives of others we should do so on the
basis of the best evidence available regarding the likely
consequences of that intervetion."

-Geraldine MacDonald (1998)
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The OCWTP has embraced the ongoing and emendatory process of evidence-based practice (EBP) and approved the EBP definition listed below for use in Ohio. In addition, a work team has formed to provide leadership in the creation of a plan of action to educate the system about EBP; to make recommendations for necessary policy and program changes; to collaborate with the members of the University Consortium; and to develop needed resources for trainers, RTCs, and agencies.

The Definition

Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) is the "...conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence..." (Sacket, et al., 2000) in making clinical practice and policy decisions.

In child welfare:

Conscientious means practitioners always maintain awareness of their moral obligation to consider all available evidence and guard against bias and duplicity;

Explicit means practitioners and policy makers are clear about the reliability, validity, and applicability of evidence used in decision-making, and can clearly justify their decisions;

Judicious means practitioners use practical reasoning and clinical expertise to assess children and families' unique characteristics, preferences, and circumstances when making case recommendations.

The Basic Tenets

EBP is an ongoing and emendatory process. This means EBP is corrective and improving constantly -- what we did in the past is not as good as what we can do in the future.
EBP recognizes a hierarchy of evidence that is based on scientific rigor from clinical experience (least rigorous) to standardized reviews of randomized control trials (most rigorous).
EBP requires transparency and objectivity in both intervention and policy decision-making.
EBP cautions practitioners to avoid generalizing evidence to populations beyond the scope of the research.
EBP requires structure and methodology to effectively translate research to practice.
EBP requires critical thinking and appraisal skills.
EBP encourages practitioners to form the questions that drive research.
EBP recognizes "best practice" is practice based upon the "best available evidence."
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Bronson, D. (2006). Evidence-based practice: Identifying and removing barriers to implementation. American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, 18, 2-6.
Chaffin, Mark, Friedrich, Bill (2004). Evidence-based treatments in child abuse and neglect, Children and Youth Services Review, 26, 1097-1113.
Gambrill, E. (2006). Evidence-based practice and policy: Choices ahead. Research on Social Work Practice, 16, 338-357.
Heffner, J.E. (1998). Does Evidence-based medicine help the development of clinical practice guidelines? Chest, 113, 172-178.
MacDonald, G. (1998). Promoting evidence-based practice in child protection. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 3 (1), 71-85.
Sackett, D.L., Straus, S.E., Richardson, W.S., Rosenberg, W., & Haynes, R.B. (2000). Evidence-based medicine: How to practice and teach EBM (2nd ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.



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