Despite the proliferation of evidence-based practices (EBPs) for children and families, the majority of children and families do not receive EBPs in the child welfare (CW) system, despite their growing availability. One major driver of this lack of access may be caseworker referrals to EBPs given that children and families access services through their caseworker. In this study, we applied the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) model and qualitative methods to understand caseworker decisions to refer to EBP. Twelve semi-structured interviews were conducted with child welfare caseworkers and support staff from two community-based CW agencies that were implementing an EBP, the Positive Parenting Program (Triple P). Directed content analysis was used and results supported a TPB model, in that 1) caseworkers’ beliefs about Triple P’s effectiveness; 2) agency expectations and culture around referring to Triple P; 3) conflicting court mandates and 4) multiple job demands influenced caseworker referral decisions. Recommendations include increasing communication and training for caseworkers and court officials around Triple P and increasing agency support for EBP implementation. Future research should explore whether constructs from the TPB predict actual caseworker referrals to EBPs.
- caseworker referrals
- child welfare
- Evidence-based practice
- theory of planned behavior
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science