The Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board makes a concerted effort to assure the quality of programming it supports. There are several strategies the Prevention Board utilizes to seek to ensure that programming is effective. Effective programming addresses the target audience sensitively and appropriately. It is implemented with fidelity according the specifications of the program developer. Most important, effective programming produces the results or outcomes for which it was developed. Outcomes include factors such as increasing parental knowledge of child development, increasing a parent's range of parenting strategies, or reducing parental stress. All of these factors are known to prevent child maltreatment. One means by which the Prevention Board can verify program effectiveness is by utilizing evidence-based or evidence-informed programming wherever possible.
Evaluating Prevention Efforts
Evidence-based programs show results that are proven to be a direct result of the activities of the program. Evidenced-based programs have a strong theoretical foundation, a program theory with articulated outcomes and corresponding strategies for achieving those outcomes. However, their hallmark is the rigor with which they are evaluated. Evidenced-based programs are evaluated utilizing an experimental or quasi-experimental design. Two like groups are compared to one another over time, where one group participates in the prevention program (treatment group) and the other, the control group, does not. The "gold standard" for effective evaluation is random assignment where individuals are randomly assigned to participate in either the control group or the treatment group.
The Prevention Board supports evidenced-based initiatives whenever available for the identified need. Examples include the Period of Purple Crying abusive head trauma prevention program, and Triple P Positive Parenting Program a parent education program.
There are times, however, when there are no evidence-based interventions that meet an identified need. In such a case, the Prevention Board relies on evidence-informed practice. Evidence-informed practice "reflects the need to be context sensitive and use the best available evidence when dealing with daily circumstances". Such efforts utilize the best research and contextual evidence available. In some cases, principles that are incorporated into an effort may be well documented, but the effort itself may not have been rigorously tested or not tested with the particular target audience. In other cases, the Prevention Board supports efforts that are innovative and forging into relatively unexamined territory. Whether a particular intervention is evidence-based or evidence-informed, the Prevention Board strives to ensure that the effort is implemented effectively and sensitively, serves the target audience, and effectively addresses child maltreatment prevention.