What Researchers Say About Family Assessment, or Differential Response
Knowing how parents became the primary clients of child protection helps clarify why children are sometimes left in abusive situations.
Child protection became parent-focused because the Casey Family Programs foundation saw the program as coercive and disrespectful of families. They created an approach – called Differential Response (DR) nationally and Family Assessment in Minnesota – which gave parents more control but increased risk for children.
Although its views were unsupported by research, Casey funded DR training and evaluations in numerous states.
This APSAC Journal explains how DR dangerously mixes research with ideology. Elsewhere, Vaughan-Eden and Vandervort called Casey’s evaluations “thinly veiled advocacy” for DR, and asked “How did a program with so little empirical support gain such favor?”
Child protection should be founded on evidence-based practices, not a politicized agenda.
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