A child protection system is not just about minimizing child abuse but also maximizing welfare (Munro, 2008). Therefore, the new Youth Act in the Netherlands promotes empowerment in child protection (Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport & Ministry of Security and Justice, 2014). The last decade, empowering child protection services was dominated by the Signs of Safety (SoS) approach of Andrew Turnell and Steve Edwards (1999), a strength-based method with a strong client focused perspective. The current study evaluates a multilevel implementation process of a SoS approach within a Child Protection Service (CPS) in the Netherlands as perceived by professionals. Since 2014, the CPS is implementing its own SoS-version called Safe Together Step by Step (STSS). The study comprised a cross-sectional survey (n = 138) with an experimental and control group and was part of a larger evaluation study on the STSS approach. We analysed a multilevel approach, using Cretin's chain of action, dividing professional level, team level, organisational level and contextual level determinants of implementation. Results show that the implementation of STSS within current CPS is still in an early adoption stage. The study provides some support for a multilevel implementation strategy with 38% explained variance. However the professional level is the largest contributor (25%) to the use of STSS, especially knowledge necessary for implementation and influences of important others (subjective norm), contribute to the use of STSS. A multilevel implementation strategy should include activities on all levels in order to improve the determinants. With an integrated multilevel strategy chances for implementation success increases. In addition, the multilevel strategy should include a long term process with continues feedback on the implementation and adjustments in implementation strategies if needed. Moreover, knowledge from literature and practical experience should meet to further develop the implementation strategy for SoS approach in order to improve empowerment based working within child protection services.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Child protection services, Empowerment, Implementation, Signs of safety, Solution based/solution focused approach
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2017.09.024, hdl.handle.net/1765/104754
Journal Children and Youth Services Review
Citation
Rijbroek, B. (Brigit), Strating, M.M.H, & Huijsman, R. (2017). Implementation of a solution based approach for child protection: A professionals’ perspective. Children and Youth Services Review, 82, 337–346. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2017.09.024