The February 5th issue of Annals of Internal Medicine features an article that cites positive outcomes for the Baltimore-based SEEK Project (Safe Environment for Every Kid). Sponsored by the University of Maryland Medical Center, the SEEK project integrates professional social workers into pediatric primary care clinics, to conduct child abuse identification and prevention efforts. A randomized research trial of the SEEK program compared outcomes for an intervention group – families who received social work services – and a control group of families who received services from a human services worker.
Compared with the control group, families in the intervention group experienced:
- fewer reports to child protective service (CPS) agencies
- fewer episodes of severe or very severe physical assault
- fewer instances of non-adherence to medical care; and
- fewer delays in immunizations
This study adds to the growing body of research indicating the value of professional social work intervention with vulnerable populations. It also demonstrates the importance of integrating social work services into primary care.
For more information:
Behavioral Interventions and Counseling to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect: A Systematic Review to Update the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation (Annals, 2013)
Children at Risk: Optimizing Health in an Era of Reform (NASW, 2012)