Improving follow-up with low-income families in Norway: What is new and what is already regular social work practice?
Policymakers emphasise knowledge-based practices and evaluate their effectiveness. The Norwegian Directorate of Labour and Welfare has developed a model for Comprehensive follow-up of Low-income Families (the so-called HOLF model). The model includes several elements common in social work, such as relational and empowering practices, in addition to the implementation of intervention-specific tools and principles. Because most of the family coordinators are professional social workers, we measure pre-implementation practices related to intervention elements relevant to the HOLF model (i.e. relational skills, empowerment, comprehensive follow-up processes, goal-focused meetings, and the coordination of services). The data stem from a baseline survey conducted among 58 family coordinators in 29 Labour and Welfare offices in a cluster-randomised trial. The results demonstrate that family coordinators had high levels of relational skills prior to the intervention, were goal-focused in their meetings and emphasised empowerment, whereas comprehensive follow-up processes and the coordination of services were less apparent. Hence, this study shows the importance of measuring various social work competences prior to programme implementation, as some practices the intervention aims at improving might already be more or less prevalent
Tøge, Anne Grete