National Foundation to End Child Abuse and Neglect selects cross-sector collaboration paper as winner of training project to help end child abuse and neglect

Denver (April 13, 2020) – A proposal calling for collaboration among researchers, policymakers and practitioners has been selected as the winner of the National Foundation to End Child Abuse and Neglect’s (EndCAN) call for disruption papers on training. The research team headed by Associate Professor Lisa Schelbe, PhD, MSW, at Florida State University College of Social Work says collaboration across these sectors is critical to closing the gap that exists in ending child maltreatment.

“EndCAN was so inspired by the team’s collaborative approach as we know that the only way to impact the rates of abuse in this country is to break down the silos that exist in this field and work collectively,” said EndCAN co-founder and executive director Lori Poland.

“Bridging the Gaps between Research, Policy, and Practice in the field of Child Maltreatment through Cross-Sector Training and Innovation” makes the case that harnessing the individual strengths of these three sectors in a collective manner could solve the challenging social problem of child maltreatment. Authors include Lisa Schelbe, Ph.D., MSW associate professor Florida State University College of Social Work; Donna L. Wilson, Ph.D., LPC, program director, Children and Families, National Conference of State Legislatures; Wade Fickler, group director, Children and Families, National Conference of State Legislatures; Nina Williams-Mbengue, senior fellow, Child Welfare, National Conference of State Legislatures; and J. Bart Klika, Ph.D., MSW, chief research and strategy officer, Prevent Child Abuse America and research faculty Florida State University College of Social Work.

“So often, policy is created in the absence of local data and without input from those who will eventually implement or be the recipients of those policies. A new structure is needed whereby researchers, practitioners, and policy makers collaborate upfront to define research questions that have direct implications for practice and policy,” said Klika.

According to Wilson, “Barriers to cross-sector problem-solving reflect an accumulation of cultural, structural and systemic factors. It will take an intentional and sustained effort like the one we have proposed to bridge the gaps between research, policy and practice in the field of child welfare and child maltreatment prevention.”

The team’s disruptive idea is to use the principles of Design Thinking to train cross-sector collaborators at the state level to how to acquire and use state-specific data to make decisions related to child maltreatment prevention. The concept involves training policymakers how to use data to make decisions related to child maltreatment prevention; training researchers how to develop and present their research so that it is useful to policymakers and practitioners; and training practitioners how to implement practices that align with current research and policy.

Schelbe explained that the plan is to test the concept described in the paper, “Our next step is to pilot the proposed model. It is our hope that through the unique collaborations, we can harness the skills and strengths of researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to produce policy and practice relevant research which meaningfully contribute to the creation of effective state-level child maltreatment prevention policies and practices.”

EndCAN issued a call for disruption papers addressing four areas of child abuse, clinical, prevention, research and training. Winners in the first three categories were awarded last year. The national nonprofit values and wishes to recognize disruption papers on training submitted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and researchers at University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. All three papers will be published in an upcoming issue of the International Journal on Child Maltreatment: Research, Policy and Practice.

About EndCAN

EndCAN works to change the way child abuse and neglect is addressed by focusing on the health, mental health and public health issues of abuse. EndCAN helps survivors, thrivers and transcenders of abuse by uniting voices. The Foundation works with others to expand funding for research, training, prevention and advocacy. Learn more at

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