Solution-Based Casework (SBC) has been proven to be an evidenced-based practice regarding assessment and case planning for both child protection and juvenile justice services.
Prior to adopting SBC practices, NH DCYF child protection was and continues to utilize the Structured Decision-Making (SDM) Model to guide assessments of safety, risk, strengths and needs of families involved with child protection since 2001. SDM, which is also an evidenced-based model, brings objectivity and validity to NH’s practice at critical junctures in case planning. In recent years, DCYF has also incorporated a national trend toward safety-informed practice, which involves collaborating with families in the assessment of their strengths and family situation. When youth are assessed to be in danger, the focus turns to ensuring safety first and foremost by utilizing the family’s strengths and protective factors to create a plan for safety.
As DCYF child protection has moved forward with adopting SBC, it has become clear that it is an approach that builds on prior use of SDM and safety-informed practice. As such, much work has been done to blend these three approaches in NH’s new Integrated Assessment Model (NHIA). This new model brings the best of evidence-based actuarial assessment tools together with evidence-based clinical assessment and family engagement strategies. The NHIA creates a new way of documenting these enhanced assessment practices that adds fidelity and consistency to their use with families. Some of the topics to be assessed include Identification of Maltreatment, Sequence of Events, Family Developmental Stages and Tasks, Family Supports, and Individual Adult Patterns of Behavior. These topics are assessed at specific intervals in the Division’s involvement with a family through the use of tools that include Screening Criteria, Response Priority , 24 Hour Safety/Safety Reviews, Risk Assessment, Strengths/Needs Assessment, In-Home Risk Reviews, and Reunification Reviews. NHIA documentation leads to stronger use of these approaches and allows Child Protective Service Workers to document the work they have done in a manner that truly mirrors the process they are using when working with families. Ultimately, by blending these approaches, the best outcomes will be reached for children and families.