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B: Procedures <<>> Continuous Invention <<>> Best

At the basic
practice level, agencies interpret and then reframe the rules as detailed
procedures, covering every aspect of day-to-day child protection practice. These
procedures are more detailed and prescriptive than the rules on which they are
based and reflect local interpretations and preferences. This results in
significant variation in practice from agency to agency.

At the basic practice
level, Workers have little latitude or need for independent judgment. Practice
is, for the most part, a matter of following agency procedures. Even so, practice
varies from worker to worker based on individual interpretation of the
procedures and personal practice preferences. The extent of this variance is a
function of management tolerance for deviation from procedures and the extent
to which supervisory controls limit the variance.

At the
intermediate practice level, continuous invention expands practice beyond
procedures. Workers create or invent new and innovative strategies and
techniques to achieve specific outcomes. These inventions conform to the relevant
procedures. They represent the critical difference in practice achieving
expected outcomes and practice that does not.

At the advanced
practice level, the expansion to best practice as the basis for intervention is
integral to the principles practice element. Best practice in this context
means most decisions and actions are primarily guided by formal theory and
empirical evidence of effectiveness. Further, the theoretical and empirical
underpinning for decisions and actions changes over time, as improved
theoretical constructs and newer research replace older knowledge and
understanding. “Best practice” is not based on opinion, personal preference, or
exigent circumstances. Instead, “best practice” is based on approaches,
strategies, and interventions validated as effective through research,
evaluation, and through other techniques empirically demonstrating their
utility and practice value.

How it works:

At the basic
practice level, practice is directed, within management controlled limits, by
designated procedures. At the intermediate practice level, within the procedure
context, workers continuously invent strategies and techniques to achieve
specific outcomes for individual children. At the advanced practice level, those
inventions, in turn, conform to and are guided by best practice.

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