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New Perspectives for Outcome-based Evaluation and Research on Family and Children’s Services

The challenges of evaluation bring us well beyond the present that we know. In our reality, problems prevail over solutions and positive practices struggle to make their way in the traditional welfare systems. Such systems are rooted in a welfare-dependency culture, which leads services to deliver standardized and manualized interventions that are hardly sensitive to the diverse cultural contexts where they are applied. Evaluation should help to understand this, to focus on what children and families really need, avoiding useless consumption of resources.

The main reason why welfare systems are facing difficulties is their limited sustainability. Resources are not enough while needs and inequalities are growing. Hong Kong represents an international crossroads to address these issues, valuing the meeting of different cultures and experiences and to anticipate a possible future that we can build together.

The Family and Group Practice Research Center, Department of Social Work at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, has focused on this challenge, organizing the international conference on «New Perspectives for Outcome-Based Evaluation and Research on Family and Children’s Services» (September 7-8, 2017). It is a joint initiative with the International Association for Outcome-Based Evaluation and Research on Family and Children’s Services (iaOBERfcs) and the Emanuela Zancan Foundation. Many people from various countries have shared this challenge by summarizing their experiences, their questions and their proposals in this book. They are researchers, professionals, academics, managers, policymakers and people interested in new perspectives of family and children’s services. Together they are converging on Hong Kong for discussing the present while looking at the future.

The conference aims to provide an international platform to share research and advance knowledge development in outcome-based evaluation worldwide. Why this choice? Because outcome evaluation is a human and professional challenge for all of us. It tells us if our work is useful, how much it is useful, which are the advantages, if we have been able to co-produce outcomes with our users and inside our community.

We need to design the services of the future, being aware that many and new problems are hindering welfare systems. This does not mean, however, that those problems are leading to an irreversible crisis. Instead, they require us to look for new solutions to take care of the fundamental human needs, developing new ways for societies to be more sustainable and inclusive. This is particularly relevant for those societies that are facing faster structural social and economic changes than others, counting on the positive growth of new generations. They realize, better than other countries, that the traditional practices are not enough.

The book collects these questions, the possible solutions, and research and evaluation tell us what is useful and what is not useful. The book is divided into three sections: Children and families in a changing world; Services Development and Evaluation for Children and Families in Need; Social Policies, Communities and Cultures for Families and Children. The authors wrote many contributions following the same format: a preliminary background of the main topic, the goals and methodology, the key findings, the conclusions and the main references, also finally providing the details of a contact person for anyone interested in deepening each specific issue. This effort provides us with a repertoire of thoughts that can be more easily compared and discussed during and after the conference. It is a common platform, so it represents not the final but rather the starting point for a community of researchers and professionals who will be able to proceed together along a journey full of questions and potential.


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Editore: Fondazione Zancan
Autore: Cinzia Canali, Joyce Ma, and Tiziano Vecchiato, edited by
Collana: Fuori collana
Anno di pubblicazione: 2017
Codice ISBN: 878-88-88843-99-5
Numero di pagine: 205