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The aim of this article is to summarise the available evidence from systematic reviews about the effectiveness of interventions to prevent or treat child physical abuse…
The aim of this article is to summarise the available evidence from systematic reviews about the effectiveness of interventions to prevent or treat child physical abuse and neglect. A computerised search was undertaken of major electronic databases up to December 2005 using key search terms. Only systematic reviews were included in which the primary studies evaluated the effectiveness of targeted or indicated interventions for child physical abuse or neglect. A total of 31 systematic reviews were identified and 15 met all the inclusion criteria. They covered a range of interventions/services, including home visiting, parenting programmes, multi‐component interventions, intensive family preservation services, family‐focused casework and multi‐systemic family therapy. There was limited evidence of the effectiveness of services in improving objective measures of abuse and neglect, due in part to methodological issues involved in their measurement, but good evidence of modest benefits in improving a range of outcomes that are associated with physical abuse and neglect, including parental and family functioning and child development. The results also showed some interventions (eg. media‐based and perinatal coaching) to be ineffective with high‐risk families. The evidence provided by these reviews has clear implications for children's services in the UK and other western developed countries.
This article reviews the first volume of the Journal of Children's Services. In doing so, it discusses broader directions and challenges in research, policy and practice…
This article reviews the first volume of the Journal of Children's Services. In doing so, it discusses broader directions and challenges in research, policy and practice. The article focuses on discussion about outcomes, the ‘idea’ of children's services and the impact of interventions on children's health and development. It welcomes reflections on different approaches to outcome measurement, analyses of the practicalities of implementing policy reforms and rigorous evaluations of the impact of Early Years, parenting and other programmes. At the same time, it suggests specific areas in which more work would be valuable, including: socio‐political commentary on policy developments; methods of and results from need analyses; empirical research on inter‐agency initiatives; how to improve the processes and structures that underpin good outcomes; transitions; and understanding ‘what works’ in research dissemination and utilisation. The value of international perspectives (including intra‐UK comparisons) is stressed. Forthcoming special editions on randomised controlled trials (RCTs) (2007) and anti‐social behaviour by young people (2008) will help to address other points raised.