What Works for Children’s Social Care (WWCSC) was commissioned by the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care (IRCSC) to undertake research about the impact of policy interventions on child maltreatment and children’s social care outcomes. Using readily available resources like clearinghouses, reputable journals that publish in the field, as well as papers that link to these, we identified studies to include in the research.
- Each study or review was rated for study quality (of low, medium, or high) in order to determine how reliable the findings were. We used the following criteria to do this:
- The presence of a well-established control group
- Multiple measurements of the outcome
- Statistical power and significance
- Appropriate study design to determine or approach causality: systematic reviews, randomised controlled trials, quasi-experimental designs and longitudinal correlational studies were prioritised in order of potential internal validity
- Where systematic reviews were included, the quality was determined by reported analyses of risks of biases, clearly reported methodology, discussion of contradictory evidence, and clearly mentioned statistical significance.
Due to timing and scope, the matrix can be interpreted as summaries of the individual relevant studies, not an all-encompassing body of evidence.