Evidence Based Practice emerged in the late 20th century, becoming widespread in the 21st century. According to Research and Practice: The Role of Evidence-Based Program Practices in the Youth Mentoring Field ( 2009) “The concept of Evidence Based Practice (EBP) actually has its roots in the medical field, where the work of Archie Cochrane (1972) and others examined the key role that the substantial body of medical research and literature could play in how doctors make decisions in patient care” (para 6); Thus, a doctor’s decision would be an “educated” decision, based on evidence gathered (patient symptoms), history of cases they have overseen, or research of previous case diagnosed by another doctor, with a related case. Evidence Based Practices are defined as “ integration of: (a) clinical expertise/expert opinion, (b) external scientific evidence, and (c) client/patient/caregiver perspectives to provide high-quality services reflecting the interests, values, needs, and choices of the individuals we serve” (“Evidence Based Practice (EBP),” 1997-2014); often described as the “Best Practices”. The evidence itself is not the basis of decisions made, but it does help support the process of care given to our clients.
Programs, policies, and practices are developed for at-risk youth, based on the evidence and research generated from this approach. The basis of such evidence is not to be the deciding factor, as stated above, but to help us identify programs, and policies that benefit our youth in positive ways.
There is no doubt that human service organization will undergo changes, in relation to the people they serve. Hasenfeld (2010) suggest such sociodemographic changes are a result of immigration and migration, which creates diversity. In addition, organization must adjust their services to meet the needs of current and new clients in their communities (pg 1). Here is where the research begins. Every organization should be asking the questions, “How can we best serve our clients”? , and “What programs can we implement to impact the lives of youth in our community”? According to Austin (2005) two types of research can be administered when gathering evidence; primary and secondary. Primary research refers to “surveys, clinical trials, and experiments”. Secondary research refers to “major study reviews, practice guidelines, decision and economic analysis” (pg 2). Evidence-Based Research is designed to inform organizations of what’s working and what’s not working. This could refer to structure of programs, the delivery of services, or the organizational culture.
Hasenfeld (2010) states all organizations need raw materials as input to produce their products (pg 11). Human Service Organizations (HSO) exists for the people and because of the people. Therefore our services should be centered on what would impact the life of our clients. According to Hasenfeld (2010) the people we serve “raw material”, go through a transformational process...