Center for Child Policy
A Child Maltreatment Think Tank
The Center for Child Policy was formed through a partnership of the Institute for Human Services (IHS), the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) and the New York Foundling.
The Center’s leaders and staff members are child maltreatment professionals with academic and employment experience in the professional fields of social work, psychology, child development, public administration, law, and public policy.
The founding partner organizations together have decades of experience in research, policy analysis, policy development, practice guidance, and training in the child welfare and child maltreatment fields.
The Center for Child Policy promotes safety, justice, and permanent families for children of all ages who have experienced child abuse and neglect.
The Center was created as a think tank to drive proactive change in both public policy and direct practice in the child maltreatment and child protection fields. We do this by identifying and analyzing the most pressing problems and dilemmas confronting the field, and applying the best available evidence to help resolve them.
Our products include policy white papers, practice guidance, and education for policy makers and practitioners in the professions responsible for serving maltreated children and their families – social work, psychology, medicine, law, law enforcement, and education.
Since our purpose is to effect change in the child maltreatment practice field, our primary audience consists of “early adopters,” so named by Everett Rogers in his work, Diffusion of Innovations (1962).
Early adopters recognize the need for change and improvement, and they embrace change opportunities. They are generally leaders who are comfortable with new ideas and are motivated to commit energy to starting and sustaining change initiatives.
Our targeted audience also includes critical thinkers who understand the complexity of the work they do, and the challenges they are likely to encounter as they work. Their goal is not just to “do something.” It is to do the “right thing.”
Anyone involved in serving abused and neglected children and their families can be an early adopter, including direct practitioners, supervisors, managers and executives, academics, researchers, policy makers, caregivers, and citizen advocates.
While early adopters bring commitment and motivation to their work, they can’t be effective without accurate, solid, unbiased, and empirically supported information to guide their activities.
The Center for Child Policy endeavors to provide this guidance to underpin strategic system change.
Promoting Best Practices Through
Best Available Evidence
The child maltreatment field uses the term “best practices” to reflect a commitment to providing the most effective services possible to children and their families.
The term itself reminds us there are both more effective and less effective helping practices, and that some poorly conceived practices may be profoundly harmful to the people they are supposed to help.
The right decision for any family must always consider the broader family and environmental context, and should be made by well-educated and competent professionals who understand each family’s unique situation and needs.
However, universal principles of best practice do exist. They are derived from decades of empirical research, logic, and practice wisdom in multiple professional disciplines. The combined data from all of these sources is called “best available evidence.” Ethically and practically, this body of information should always guide and shape our responses to child abuse and neglect.
The hallmark of the Center for Child Policy is our transparency about the best available evidence underpinning our work. We articulate the sources, strengths, and limitations of the evidence we use; we point out flaws in the evidence and logic underpinning poor and ineffective practices; and we identify the gaps in knowledge that make defining best practices far more challenging.