Just like any other intervention in a social and clinical setting, even those based on the out-of-home placement of children need to individuate increasingly shared instruments of assessment, able to meet both the external demands of social recognition, transparency and visibility, both the internal need of an evaluation of the efficacy of the work itself (Barbanotti et al., 1999; Regalia and Bruno, 2000; Tosco, 1999; Vecchiato, Maluccio e Canali, 2002). This work presents the principal elements of an extensive research aimed to point out the assessment criteria capable of: 1) describing the functioning of the residential communities for children; 2) checking their effective capacity to play a reparatory and protective role for their development. The theoretical framework of our ‘ecological approach’ for assessment is the Developmental Psychopathology (Rolf et al., 1990; Cicchetti and Cohen, 1995; Rutter and Sroufe, 2000, Emiliani and Bastianoni, 1993) and the ecological theory of Bronfenbrenner (1979). Method The principal results obtained by two research projects shall be presented: 1) Research into the communities with reference to their context of intervention. In this phase a formulated ad hoc questionnaire was distributed among social workers and professionals who are working in 80 residential structures and in 45 Social Services, for a total of 570 participants belonging to eight different Italian Regions. The research topics refers to what has been defined as a “meso-system” (the work carried out by the community in relation to contexts concerning children), the “eso-system” (the system of relationships between institutions that decide and plan the out-of-home placement) and the “macro-system” (the socio-cultural context in which the intervention is carried out). 2) Research into the “micro-system” community in terms of daily organization of activities, relational internal climate and processes of change activated in children. Even in this case the questionnaire was formulated ad hoc and distributed to 132 participants (residential staff and adolescents) in 19 communities. Results For each of the four levels taken into consideration (micro, meso, eso and macro-system) it was possible to define criteria of quality. The results indicate that the quality of a community is related to the capacity of its operators to understand and operate co-ordinately in all the four environmental systems. In particular, the reflexive and auto-reflexive capacity that the social workers have in relation to each of the four levels is a favourable prognostic element of the quality of the interventions. Conclusions The ecological model proposed offers a chance to assess the multidimensional quality where such a multidimensionality does not simply assume a descriptive function of different structural and procedural aspects of the service (unlike what happens in the authorisation, credit and certification systems), but points towards the interdependence of the systems (according to the Lewinian notion of interdependency) in the search for relationships between the parts. Secondly, the methodology has permitted to explore the points of view of the different subjects involved at different levels in the model: children, front-line workers, social workers.

Effectiveness conditions in out-of-home placement of children and adolescents

PALARETI, LAURA;EMILIANI, FRANCESCA
2008

Abstract

Just like any other intervention in a social and clinical setting, even those based on the out-of-home placement of children need to individuate increasingly shared instruments of assessment, able to meet both the external demands of social recognition, transparency and visibility, both the internal need of an evaluation of the efficacy of the work itself (Barbanotti et al., 1999; Regalia and Bruno, 2000; Tosco, 1999; Vecchiato, Maluccio e Canali, 2002). This work presents the principal elements of an extensive research aimed to point out the assessment criteria capable of: 1) describing the functioning of the residential communities for children; 2) checking their effective capacity to play a reparatory and protective role for their development. The theoretical framework of our ‘ecological approach’ for assessment is the Developmental Psychopathology (Rolf et al., 1990; Cicchetti and Cohen, 1995; Rutter and Sroufe, 2000, Emiliani and Bastianoni, 1993) and the ecological theory of Bronfenbrenner (1979). Method The principal results obtained by two research projects shall be presented: 1) Research into the communities with reference to their context of intervention. In this phase a formulated ad hoc questionnaire was distributed among social workers and professionals who are working in 80 residential structures and in 45 Social Services, for a total of 570 participants belonging to eight different Italian Regions. The research topics refers to what has been defined as a “meso-system” (the work carried out by the community in relation to contexts concerning children), the “eso-system” (the system of relationships between institutions that decide and plan the out-of-home placement) and the “macro-system” (the socio-cultural context in which the intervention is carried out). 2) Research into the “micro-system” community in terms of daily organization of activities, relational internal climate and processes of change activated in children. Even in this case the questionnaire was formulated ad hoc and distributed to 132 participants (residential staff and adolescents) in 19 communities. Results For each of the four levels taken into consideration (micro, meso, eso and macro-system) it was possible to define criteria of quality. The results indicate that the quality of a community is related to the capacity of its operators to understand and operate co-ordinately in all the four environmental systems. In particular, the reflexive and auto-reflexive capacity that the social workers have in relation to each of the four levels is a favourable prognostic element of the quality of the interventions. Conclusions The ecological model proposed offers a chance to assess the multidimensional quality where such a multidimensionality does not simply assume a descriptive function of different structural and procedural aspects of the service (unlike what happens in the authorisation, credit and certification systems), but points towards the interdependence of the systems (according to the Lewinian notion of interdependency) in the search for relationships between the parts. Secondly, the methodology has permitted to explore the points of view of the different subjects involved at different levels in the model: children, front-line workers, social workers.
Assessing the ‘Evidence-base’ of Intervention for Vulnerable Children and Their Families. Cross National Perspectives and Challenges for Research, Practice and Policy
167
170
Palareti L.; Berti C.; Emiliani F.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/63908
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