Taiwan Implements Structured Decision Making®

Taiwan Implements Structured Decision Making®

March 17, 2014 | Pei-Jung (Annie) Yang, Assistant Professor, National Chengchi University in Taiwan

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Taiwan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare is preparing to implement the Structured Decision Making® (SDM) safety assessment. In January and February 2014, a training for trainers and a training for supervisors were held as part of this preparation. Four of these trainers—Howard Lin, Sheng-Kai Huang, Hsin-Chia Wu, and Yi-Chang Liu—have witnessed and been closely involved in the development of the SDM® safety assessment measure.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare is preparing to implement the Structured Decision Making® (SDM) safety assessment. In January and February 2014, a training for trainers and a training for supervisors were held as part of this preparation. Four of these trainers—Howard Lin, Sheng-Kai Huang, Hsin-Chia Wu, and Yi-Chang Liu—have witnessed and been closely involved in the development of the SDM® safety assessment measure. They have been part of the SDM workgroup since 2011, which is comprised of child protection social workers and researchers. Together with the NCCD Children’s Research Center (CRC), the workgroup drafted the Taiwan version of the SDM safety assessment, tested the measure in the field, and contributed to endless discussions, resulting in the current version of this important assessment.

Howard is pleased that the SDM safety assessment focuses on family strengths and safety; with strengths and safety in mind, it is easier to communicate with families and to assess their needs. Sheng-Kai said that although the SDM safety assessment requires the worker to spend comparably more time communicating with the family, it provides a clear and logical best-practice guideline that is important to the social work profession. Hsin-Chia said that she appreciates being involved in safety assessment development and that this experience has contributed to her professional development. When Yi-Chang attended SDM meetings, workshops, or trainings, he always learned something new about the SDM system and child protection. He said he appreciates this mutual learning experience and the opportunity to exchange ideas and knowledge with CRC staff.

Taiwan will start SDM safety assessment implementation in the coming months. We expect that the SDM safety assessment will strengthen the decision-making process and support social workers to systematically assess family strengths and safety threats with consistency. More importantly, we expect the SDM safety assessment will facilitate communication with families about the impact of safety threats on their children. We hope that with the SDM practice, we will be able to develop partnerships with the families and that one day, families will see child protection as a supporting service rather than as an authoritative, know-it-all figure of child caring.

Pei-Jung (Annie) Yang, assistant professor of the Graduate Institute of Social Work at the National Chengchi University in Taiwan, specializes in social work and human development. Her current research focuses on factors fostering positive development in childhood and adolescence. Her other research has documented the developmental implication of human figure diagrams in forensic interviewing and the use of structured decision-making models in child protection investigations. Ms. Yang received her PhD in developmental psychology from the University of Cambridge in 2010. She previously practiced in California as a licensed clinical social worker and licensed art therapist.