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Abstract

Child welfare practitioners need to ensure they employ effective decision-making when implementing services to families at risk for abuse and/or neglect of their children. Utilizing a structured decision making process, specifically an evidence-based process, may enhance case outcomes (Hagermoser-Sanetti, & Kratochwill, 2009). Evidence-based practice is an attempt to bridge the gap between research and practice (Hagell, & Spencer, 2004). Evidence-based practice (EBP) is defined as a “process that blends current best evidence, community values and preferences, and agency, societal, and political considerations in order to establish programs and policies that are effective and contextualized” (Regehr, Stern, & Shlonsky, 2007, p. 410), which is crucial when working in rural communities (Belanger & Stone, 2008; Landsman, 2012; Saltman, Gumpert, Allen-Kelly, Zubrzycki, 200X). In most developed countries, use of EBP is the goal of public services (Nutley, Walter, & Davies, 2009). In the past two decades, there has been a more conscientious attempt to use EBP in various social work settings including child welfare, employment, health, juvenile justice, mental health, and substance abuse (Fixsen, Blase, Naoom, & Wallace, 2009).

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