A Blueprint for Embedding Evidence-Based Programs in Child Welfare

Posted September 18, 2018, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

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States can implement evidence-based practices to improve child welfare services.

A new guide, published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, helps child welfare leaders select, implement and sustain proven programs in their systems.

The publication, A Blueprint for Embedding Evidence-Based Programs in Child Welfare, stems from a Casey-funded collaboration with the National Implementation Research Network at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and the New Jersey Department of Children and Families. Working together, these organizations set out to align the agency’s evidence-based system of care with the best practices of implementation science — a set of methods and approaches for promoting the systematic uptake of proven interventions.

This work singled out four critical implementation activities derived from the National Implementation Research Network’s formula for active implementation. These activities, described in the publication, are:

  1. assessing and selecting interventions (effective practices);
  2. establishing and sustaining implementation teams (enabling context);
  3. developing and aligning an implementation infrastructure (effective implementation); and
  4. supporting data use and communications for continuous quality improvement (enabling context).

“Evidence-based and evidence-informed models need the right conditions to thrive and take root in child welfare systems, which are not always equipped to deliver them with fidelity,” says Suzanne Barnard, director of Casey’s Evidence-Based Practice Group. “This guide walks leaders through an implementation process that fosters the right conditions and increases their ability to offer kids programs and services that best fit their needs.”

In addition to a step-by-step review of each activity, the guide includes a quick tips for leaders as they determine key roles and responsibilities in the implementation process.

The active implementation formula and other elements of the blueprint were discussed during a Sept. 18 webinar, Assessing Readiness for Implementation: Introducing the Hexagon Tool.

Additional Child Welfare and Evidence-Based Practice Resources

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