Bridging the Gaps Among Research, Policy, and Practice in the Field of Child Maltreatment Through Cross-Sector Training and Innovation

Abstract

The disconnects among research, policy, and practice are widely recognized. These three sectors are frequently siloed, and all of them have unique and systemic impediments to collaboration. At the same time, harnessing their individual strengths in a collective manner could solve the challenging social problem of child maltreatment. State policies greatly influence the provision of child welfare services and child maltreatment prevention efforts, and programs and services typically are administrated at least in part at the state level. As such, improving cross-sector collaboration at the state level is paramount. To build effective and lasting collaborations, teams of researchers, policymakers, and practitioners must be trained to understand each other’s strengths and barriers to collaboration. The vision of this initiative is to train policymakers how to use data to make decisions related to child maltreatment prevention; train researchers how to develop and present their research so that it is useful to policymakers and practitioners; train practitioners how to implement practices that align with current research and policy; and develop a framework that jurisdictions across the nation can use to better align research, policy, and practice to prevent child maltreatment. Applying the principles of Design Thinking within a cross-sector training and collaboration has the potential to disrupt and radically change how these sectors work together to end child maltreatment.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

References

  1. Aarons, G. A., & Palinkas, L. A. (2007). Implementation of evidence-based practice in child welfare: service provider perspectives. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 34(4), 411–419. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10488-007-0121-3.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Adedokun, L., & Daro, D. (2017). The research to policy pipeline: the role of training emerging scholars. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 34(1), 7–8. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10560-016-0477-x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Barth, R. P. (2008). The move to evidence-based practice: how well does it fit child welfare services? Journal of Public Child Welfare, 2(2), 145–171. https://doi.org/10.1080/15548730802312537.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Buchanan, R. (1992). Wicked problems in design thinking. Design Issues, 8(2), 5–21. https://doi.org/10.2307/1511637.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Cairney, P., & Oliver, K. (2017). Evidence-based policymaking is not like evidence-based medicine, so how far should you go to bridge the divide between evidence and policy? Health Research Policy and Systems, 15(1), 35. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12961-017-0192-x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Coburn, C. E., & Penuel, W. R. (2016). Research–practice partnerships in education: outcomes, dynamics, and open questions. Educational Researcher, 45(1), 48–54. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X16631750.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Colditz, G. A., Emmons, K. M., Vishwanath, K., & Kerner, J. F. (2008). Translating science to practice: community and academic perspectives. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 14(2), 144–149. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.PHH.0000311892.73078.8b.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Dhaliwal, I., & Tulloch, C. (2012). From research to policy: using evidence from impact evaluations to inform development policy. Journal of Development Effectiveness, 4(4), 515–536. https://doi.org/10.1080/19439342.2012.716857.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Fang, X., Brown, D. S., Florence, C. S., & Mercy, J. A. (2012). The economic burden of child maltreatment in the United States and implications for prevention. Child Abuse & Neglect, 36(2), 156–165. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2011.10.006.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Glasgow, R. E., Vinson, C., Chambers, D., Khoury, M. J., Kaplan, R. M., & Hunter, C. (2012). National Institutes of Health approaches to dissemination and implementation science: current and future directions. American Journal of Public Health, 102(7), 1274–1281. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2012.300755.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Haskins, R., Wulczyn, F., & Webb, M. B. (2007). Using high-quality research to improve child protection practice: an overview. In R. Haskins, F. Wulczyn, & M. B. Webb (Eds.), Child protection: Using research to improve policy and practice (pp. 1–20). Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Horwitz, S. M., Hurlburt, M. S., Goldhaber-Fiebert, J. D., Palinkas, L. A., Rolls-Reutz, J., Zhang, J., Fisher, E., & Landsverk, J. (2014). Exploration and adoption of evidence-based practice by US child welfare agencies. Children and Youth Services Review, 39, 147–152. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2013.10.004.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Innvær, S., Vist, G., Trommald, M., & Oxman, A. (2002). Health policy-makers' perceptions of their use of evidence: a systematic review. Journal of Health Services Research & Policy, 7(4), 239–244. https://doi.org/10.1258/135581902320432778.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. James Bell Associates. (2018). Guide to data-driven decision making: using data to inform practice and policy decisions in child welfare organizations. Washington, DC: Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Mackie, T. I., Sheldrick, R. C., Hyde, J., & Leslie, L. K. (2015). Exploring the integration of systems and social sciences to study evidence use among child welfare policy-makers. Child Welfare, 94(3), 33–58.

    Google Scholar 

  16. McGann, M., Blomkamp, E., & Lewis, J. M. (2018). The rise of public sector innovation labs: experiments in design thinking for policy. Policy Sciences, 51(3), 249–267. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11077-018-9315-7.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Mintrom, M., & Luetjens, J. (2016). Design thinking in policymaking processes: opportunities and challenges. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 75(3), 391–402. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8500.12211.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Morris, Z. S., Wooding, S., & Grant, J. (2011). The answer is 17 years, what is the question: understanding time lags in translational research. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 104(12), 510–520. https://doi.org/10.1258/jrsm.2011.110180.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. National Conference of State Legislatures (2020). Child Welfare. https://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/child-welfare.aspx.

  20. Nutley, S. M., Walter, I., & Davies, H. T. (2007). Using evidence: how research can inform public services. Bristol: The Policy Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  21. Oliver, K., & Boaz, A. (2019). Transforming evidence for policy and practice: creating space for new conversations. Palgrave Communications, 5(1), 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-019-0266-1.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Oliver, K., Lorenc, T., & Innvær, S. (2014). New directions in evidence-based policy research: a critical analysis of the literature. Health Research Policy and Systems, 12(1), 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1186/1478-4505-12-34.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Orton, L., Lloyd-Williams, F., Taylor-Robinson, D., O'Flaherty, M., & Capewell, S. (2011). The use of research evidence in public health decision making processes: systematic review. PLoS One, 6(7), e21704. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0021704.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Peterson, C., Florence, C., & Klevens, J. (2018). The economic burden of child maltreatment in the United States, 2015. Child Abuse & Neglect, 86, 178–183. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2018.09.018.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Proctor, E. (2012). Implementation science and child maltreatment: methodological advances. Child Maltreatment, 17(1), 107–112. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077559512437034.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Rittel, H., & Webber, M. (1973). Dilemmas in a general theory of planning. Policy Sciences, 4, 155–169. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01405730.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Rosenblatt, A., & Tseng, V. (2010). The demand side: uses of research in child and adolescent mental health services. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 37(1–2), 201–204. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10488-010-0300-5.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Rosinsky, K. & Williams, S. C. (2018). Child welfare financing SFY 2016: a survey of federal, state, and local expenditures. Washington, DC: Child Trends. https://www.childtrends.org/research/research-by-topic/child-welfare-financing-survey-sfy-2016.

  29. Self-Brown, S., Whitaker, D., Berliner, L., & Kolko, D. (2012). Disseminating child maltreatment interventions: research on implementing evidence-based programs. Child Maltreatment, 17(1), 5–10. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077559511436211.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Tseng, V. (2012). The uses of research in policy and practice and commentaries. Social Policy Report, 26(2), 1–24. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.2379-3988.2012.tb00071.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Tseng, V., Easton, J. Q., & Supplee, L. H. (2017). Research-practice partnerships: building two-way streets of engagement. Social Policy Report, 30(4), 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.2379-3988.2017.tb00089.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. US Department of Health & Human Services. (2020). Child Maltreatment 2018. Available https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/research-data-technology/statistics-research/child-maltreatment.

  33. Weiss, C. H. (1977). Research for policy’s sake: the enlightenment function of social research. Policy Analysis, 531–545.

  34. Wulczyn, F., Alpert, L., Monahan-Price, K., Huhr, S., Palinkas, L. A., & Pinsoneault, L. (2015). Research evidence use in the child welfare system. Child Welfare, 94(2), 141–165.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank the Center for the Study and Promotion of Communities, Families, and Children at Florida State University, and Tai Cole for their assistance in creating figures for this paper. Additionally, the authors wish to thank the Doris Duke Fellowship for the Promotion of Child Well-being for cohosting an event at the 2019 Prevent Child Abuse America Conference to bring researchers, policymakers, and practitioners together to discuss barriers to partnerships. Discussions among fellows, statewide prevention practitioners, and state legislators at the event contributed to this paper.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Lisa Schelbe.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Schelbe, L., Wilson, D.L., Fickler, W. et al. Bridging the Gaps Among Research, Policy, and Practice in the Field of Child Maltreatment Through Cross-Sector Training and Innovation. Int. Journal on Child Malt. 3, 293–305 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42448-020-00054-6

Download citation

Keywords

  • Collaboration
  • Research-policy-practice partnerships
  • Cross-sector training
  • Design Thinking
  • Innovation
  • Child maltreatment prevention