The National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well being in the USA (No. 16) has shown some distressing data on the effectiveness of child protection interventions ( http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/abuse_neglect/nscaw/reports/summary_nscaw/nscaw_research_brief_main_findings.pdf ). The one that really struck me:
"Parenting services. The leading CWS service provided for biological families was some kind of parenting intervention. A full 94% of counties delivered parent training to families with identified need, but the most frequently used programs failed to adhere to evidence-based approaches (Hurlburt, Barth, Leslie, Landsverk, & McCrae, 2007)"
I have heard other researchers talk about the use of interventions for which there is little evidence that it impacts the family behaviors (example is Dr. Harriet MacMillan from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont.) Perhaps the main reason why this keeps happening is related to lack of better alternatives that have shown effectiveness over the long term (although research has shown some possible directions. Another feature is budgets that may limit exposure to effective programming that tends to be more intense and expensive.
Too often research has shown that case plans follow formulas either because that's all that is available or that's just how we do it.
This research bulletin is worth a read (doesn't take long) but it really helps to again see that the level of needs in maltreatment families are high and we may not be meeting them successfully judging by the outcomes.