Child Welfare Practice Model

SBC is an evidenced-informed casework practice model that prioritizes working in partnership with families, focuses on pragmatic solutions to difficult situations, and notices and celebrates change.

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Solution Based Casework (SBC) provides a common conceptual map for child welfare caseworkers, supervisors, leadership, and treatment providers to help focus everyone’s efforts on clear and agreed upon outcomes.

SBC combines what we know from research on family development, clinical behavioral change, and child welfare outcomes to help staff stay focused on three key elements, or tenets 1) to create a partnership based on problem consensus in language the family understands, 2) to focus that partnership on the patterns of everyday family life that directly relate to threats to safety, and 3) to target solutions specific to the prevention skills needed to create safety and reduce risk in those family situations.

SBC has been the subject of 12 published research studies over 12 years, and has been successfully applied to investigation, assessment, prevention, foster care, adoption, residential, juvenile services,  and juvenile justice cases in mutiple states and jurisdictions.

Implementing the Model

Overview Training
After the forming of an Implementation Team, Approved SBC trainers can either provide direct staff and supervisor training on location, or if the jurisdiction is large, then lead agency staff can be trained in a Training of Trainers (TOT) format. Staff and Supervisors receive a two and a half day model overview, and then Supervisors and Managers receive an additional two days of training to assist them in their guidance role. Delivery is tailored to the jurisdiction’s size and geography.

Specific Follow-Up Training
Additional specific follow-up training is provided for the agency’s Treatment Provider network, as well as other critical stakeholders. In larger organizations, additional follow-up training days are scheduled, on an as-needed basis, for the development of internal mastery and infrastructure consultation. The goal is to achieve self-sufficiency and system-wide competence in the practice model.

Ongoing Consultation
Whether or not specific follow-up training is scheduled, ongoing consultation to the Implementation Team, Supervisors and Coaches is very important. These consultations are typically accomplished through site visits, video conferencing and/or teleconferencing. These consultations may be more frequent (every other week) at first, then monthly, then quarterly.

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About Dr. Christensen

Dana Christensen, PhD is Professor Emeritus and past Director of the Family Therapy Program in the Kent School of Social Work at the University of Louisville. He was also the Director of the University of Louisville’s Center for Family Resource Development, a center dedicated to developing and enhancing community based intervention projects. Dr. Christensen has written widely in the fields of juvenile justice, child welfare, and family therapy for over twenty five years. He is the author of the book Family Therapy: Theory and Practice as well as Solution Based Casework: An Introduction to Clinical and Case Management Skills in Social Work Practice, as well as numerous journal articles.

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