Proposed Research and other Projects

1. In 2002 the Institute completed a survey of 400 practitioners with open files (currently certified practitioners and people who have tested but have not completed the application process). The survey collected information on attitudes relating to certification and benefits that the practitioners received by participating in the certification program. The survey documents the current state of the field in Texas and will provide baseline data to gauge changes over time. It was decided that an additional survey of certified workers would be useful. The design of the original survey did not differentiate between the certified and non-certified practitioners. It was felt that there might be a significant difference in the benefits received and attitudes of the two groups.

2. Research is currently being designed to investigate the impact of certification. The Institute is interested in quantifying the difference between certified and non-certified practitioners (safety, client outcomes, turn over, and other measures of difference).

3. There have been limited instances where practitioners have taken the certification exam multiple times and failed the exam. Several of the Institute's partnering organizations are interested in why this is happening. In some cases there are reports that these practitioners are competent workers. This is a small sample group but there might be interesting information available that relates to the overall testing program: What can we determine about why these people are failing? What basis is being used to promulgate the idea that these are competent workers? Is the Institute missing an important worker characteristic in its testing program?

4. Selection of workers is generally viewed as an important factor in the success of training programs and in successful work with youth. There is little research that describes what the selection criteria should be to promote success. There may be a combination of knowledge, skills, and personal characteristics that describe a person who is more likely to succeed.

5. Both the entry and associate testing programs assume that there is some correlation between test scores and competence in working with youth (higher scores equal greater competence). If we were to survey co-workers, supervisors and possibly youth of selected workers, would we find a correlation between test scores and perceived competence with youth? This is key information as it links test results to practice applications.

6. The public is the ultimate consumer that receives benefit from increasing competence of workers. A survey could be developed to collect information on the public's attitude relating to certification. This could be implemented through the Institute's partnering organizations. It could include questions about whether the public views certification as something the state should require. This could be valuable information to distribute to state policy planners.

7. Assessment of competence with youth is a critical factor in credible certification of workers. The Institute is currently using an assessment of competence completed by supervisors in the associate level certification program. We know that training these supervisors in competence assessment is important and plans are being made to create this training. Research needs to be conducted to determine if our training efforts are yielding results and how the program might be improved in the future.

8. The Academy for Competent Youth Work offers certification-based training in regional sites throughout the US. As this program expands, it will be important to document changes in performance due to training and possibly collect demographic and descriptive data relating to successful training outcomes.

9. The Academy for Competent Youth Work is currently conducting a survey of practitioners and program administrators in all of the child care practice areas. The survey will collect information on the perceived relevance of the Institute's core competencies and the needs for practitioner training in each of the practice settings. This information will provide an additional validation of the relevance of each competency. It will also provide an overview of the training and educational needs of the entire CYC field.

10. Many people agree that training and credentialing are key components in improving a worker's ability to deliver competent service. Others believe that these key components must exist as part of a larger package. Research is needed to more fully describe the elements that impact improvement of service delivery. This may include agency culture, funding, ages and types of youth served, practice setting, geographic area, and other elements. ...