Knowledge Transfer and Exchange: Disseminating Canadian Child Maltreatment Surveillance Findings to Decision Makers

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Child Indicators Research, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp. 51-64.

Child welfare organizations are increasingly interested in developing strategies to use research evidence to inform clinical, administrative, and policy-level decision-making. In an effort to strengthen the Canadian child welfare research base used to inform policy, practice, and programming, the Public Health Agency of Canada developed the Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect (CIS), a national survey conducted every five years to estimate the incidence and "characteristics of child abuse and neglect investigated by child welfare services" (p. 52). To date results from CIS- 1998 and 2003 have been released.

Guided by federal directives prioritizing knowledge transfer and evidence-based decision making in child welfare, the steering committee for the CIS-2003 struck an expert sub-committee with the intention of devising a strategy for making the findings of the CIS-2003 accessible to a diverse range of audiences including the general public, professionals, policy makers, and researchers. This article describes the process of developing the dissemination strategy through a discussion of how key messages, target audiences, appropriate messengers, and approaches to knowledge exchange were identified. The authors identify key lessons that will inform the development of a dissemination strategy for the CIS-2008, such as identifying knowledge transfer as a priority at the beginning of a study, and suggest these findings are relevant to other researchers interested in dissemination plans. They explain that the process of disseminating findings from the CIS-2003 is being evaluated and that results from this evaluation will inform future strategies for disseminating Canadian child welfare knowledge.

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