SEEK: Salford Environment for Expertise and Knowledge

Journal Article (Refereed)
November 2013

Four-year longitudinal impact evaluation of the Action for Children UK Neglect Project: outcomes for the children, families, Action for Children, and the UK

Long, T & Murphy, M & Fallon, D & Livesley, J & Devitt, P & McLoughlin, M & Cavanagh, A 2013, 'Four-year longitudinal impact evaluation of the Action for Children UK Neglect Project: outcomes for the children, families, Action for Children, and the UK', Child Abuse and Neglect.

Abstract

Neglect has a devastating impact on children and is the most pervasive form of child maltreatment in the United Kingdom. The study purpose was to establish outcomes for neglected children following structured assessment and intervention to ascertain what worked and why it worked. This prospective cohort study included 85 cases of neglected children under 8 years of age from 7 centers across the United Kingdom. Data were collected between 2008 and 2012 through serial quantitative recording of the level of concern about neglect. Serial review of qualitative casefile data was undertaken for detail of assessment, interventions, and evidence of outcomes for the child. Data analysis was undertaken by paired t-test, Chi Square, descriptive statics for categorical data, and, for narrative data, identification of recurring factors and patterns, with correlation of presenting factors, interventions, and outcomes. Paired t-test demonstrated significant decrease in overall Action for Children Assessment Tool scores between assessment (M = 43.77, SD = 11.09) and closing the case (M = 35.47,SD = 9.6, t(84) = 6.77, p < 0.01). Improvement in the level of concern about neglect was shown in 79% of cases, with only 21% showing no improvement. In 59% of cases, concern about neglect was removed completely. Use of the assessment tool fostered engagement by parents. The relationship between lack of parental engagement and children being taken into care was statistically significant, with a large effect size (χ2 10.66, df1, p = 0.0001,OR = 17.24). When parents refused or were unable to respond positively to the intervention, children benefited from an expedited move into care.

Notes

Published online 15-11-2013