Innovation and Evidence-Based Practices

While the capacity to monitor service trends and outcomes is the cornerstone of any effective service delivery system, not all questions are appropriately addressed by rolling up information collected on every service and service user. Evaluation research following selected samples of service users can produce rich and detailed qualitative and quantitative information that can guide the development of innovative approaches and support the implementation of evidence based programs. There is a lack of independent analysis of available service data. Information is usually provided by, analysed and presented by the service providers themselves.

Residential services in Ontario do not consistently utilize evidence-based practices and even when such practices are used, there seems to be limited tracking of long-term impact. There are several examples of research initiatives that use high quality approaches to data collection and longer term follow-up, such as the clinical trials of multisystemic therapy (MST) conducted as a collaborative effort of children’s services in Ottawa, Simcoe County, Mississauga, and London (Leschied & Cunningham, 1999). More collaborative high quality evaluations are needed to assess the impact of residential services on outcomes for children and youth.