Why is Evidence-Based Practice Important in Social Work?

Social workers like you are constantly in pursuit of more advanced practices and technologies so you can better assist your clients. Evidence-based practice brings a proven set of tools, techniques, and frameworks to approach various social work client cases. This methodology adopts a scientific approach to delivering social work services that help improve client outcomes through evidence-based results. 

Social workers applying evidence-based practice continually question their assumptions and seek new information about a client’s case. As the field continues to expand and new evidence-based tools and techniques become available, this practice benefits all social workers and their clients.

In this article, you’ll learn about: 

  • What is Evidence-Based Social Work?
  • Why is it Important?
  • 8 Examples of Evidence-Based Practice Models in Social Work
  • How to Create a New Evidence-Based Practice Model

Finally, we’ll walk you through how case management software like CaseWorthy helps case managers adopt an evidence-based practice model.


What is Evidence-Based Practice Social Work?

According to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the evidence-based practice models combine well-researched interventions with clinical experience and external factors to guide their decision-making. 

Evidence-based practice care plans must be tailor-made to an individual client’s unique situation, culture, interests, and strengths to ensure optimal results. Continual education is also key to performing evidence-based social work and case management. Social workers must have a strong focus on continuous education to meet NASW standards.

Evidence-Based Practice Considerations

Social workers use these criteria to guide and inform their treatment plan:

Why is Evidence-Based Practice Important in Social Work?

Social workers who embrace evidence-based practice models are often more effective and dynamic in their work. By continuously removing their bias, social workers can critically address new challenges with a fresh perspective, allowing them to deliver higher-quality services to clients. This model is one of the most important used in social work case management.

Nonprofits that employ an evidence-based practice model also ensure their clients are served in the most efficient way possible because each care plan is based on a client’s unique circumstances, culture, needs, learning style, and interests. Ultimately, evidence-based practice benefits society through the continual renewal of treatment modalities that help vulnerable clients navigate life. 

8 Examples of Evidence-Based Practice Models in Social Work

Though new evidence-based practice models for social work come out each year, we want to share the most common with you. Below are eight models and examples of their application.

  1. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: A popular form of psychological therapy that helps individuals cope with their mental health diagnoses and analyze and reprogram how they think and perceive the world.

  2. Crisis Intervention Model: The crisis intervention model is a seven-step course of action that helps social workers guide their clients through acute and/or highly stressful situations.

  3. Problem-Solving Model: In this model, social workers address one problem at a time with a strategic action plan. The problem-solving model allows the social worker and client to adapt their work plan as situations change over time.

  4. High-Fidelity Wraparound Care: High-fidelity wraparound care is a team-based, collaborative, and highly structured practice model that helps children, adolescents, and families facing behavioral health challenges. 

  5. Narrative Therapy: Narrative therapy helps clients separate themselves from their problems, allowing them to perceive their lives from a healthier, more objective perspective.

  6. Exposure Therapy: Exposure therapy helps clients confront their deepest fears by facing the feared stimuli. With the help of a trained therapist, patients can break the dysfunctional patterns of fear and avoidance.

  7. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): A form of psychotherapy that treats anxiety, depression, trauma, and post-traumatic stress disorder. This well-researched technique helps patients repattern their brain’s response to specific memories, aiding mental health recovery.

  8. 30 Days to Family: This evidence-based practice model helps children entering the foster system increase their odds of being placed with a relative versus staying in foster care. 


Want to learn about other models of case management? Check out our article below on four other proven models used by social workers like you.

How To Create a New Evidence-Based Practice Model

Rapid advances in evidence-based best practices have helped social workers take an evidence-based practice approach by following this five-step process:

  1. Ask: Develop a focused question.
  2. Acquire: Identify evidence.
  3. Appraise: Critically evaluate the evidence and develop an intervention.
  4. Apply: Integrate the new evidence-based intervention into practice.
  5. Assess: Evaluate the results.

By incorporating evidence-based practice techniques, social workers can use and apply the top evidence, draw on clinical experience, and consider their client’s needs, values, and expectations when developing a care management treatment plan.

CaseWorthy helps social workers achieve better outcomes for clients

CaseWorthy is a flexible case management system designed for social workers and case managers. With time-saving features built-in, CaseWorthy streamlines administrative processes so social workers can spend more time assisting clients and investing in evidence-based practice education.

CaseWorthy is fully customizable and adapts to a wide range of organizations. We’d love to learn more about your organization and suggest ways to simplify workflows and save precious time and resources.


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