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date: 19 July 2024

Best Practiceslocked

Best Practiceslocked

  • Edward J. Mullen, Edward J. MullenWilma and Albert Musher Professor Emeritus, Columbia University; Editor in Chief, Oxford Bibliographies in Social Work
  • Jennifer L. BellamyJennifer L. BellamyJennifer Bellamy is an Assistant Professor at the School of Social Service Administration (SSA) at the University of Chicago. At SSA she teaches courses in clinical social work practice and integrating evidence into practice. She received her Master’s of Science in Social Work from The University of Texas at Austin. Before earning her Ph.D. she worked as a project coordinator for a multisite demonstration project across the state of Texas designed to deliver case management, employment and peer-support services to young, unmarried, low-income fathers. She completed her PhD at the Columbia University School of Social Work in 2006 and postdoctoral training at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in Saint Louis. Her current research interests include mental health services for families involved in or at risk of involvement in child welfare, the engagement of fathers in child and family services, and evidence-based practice. She has published extensively in the area of evidence-based social work practice and is currently engaged research projects focused on studies of partnerships between social service providers and researchers to support evidence-based practice; and adaptations to evidence-based parenting interventions, including home visiting and parent training, to increase fathers’ engagement.
  •  and Sarah E. BledsoeSarah E. BledsoeUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


This entry describes best practices as these are used in social work. The term best practices originated in the organizational management literature in the context of performance measurement and quality improvement where best practices are defined as the preferred technique or approach for achieving a valued outcome. Identification of best practices requires measurement, benchmarking, and identification of processes that result in better outcomes. The identification of best practices requires that organizations put in place quality data collection systems, quality improvement processes, and methods for analyzing and benchmarking pooled provider data. Through this process, organizational learning and organizational performance can be improved.


  • Administration and Management
  • Clinical and Direct Practice

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