Eight Strategies for Funding the Implementation of Child Welfare Programs

Posted October 19, 2017
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog fundingimplementationofeffectivechild 2017

Child wel­fare lead­ers have an enor­mous respon­si­bil­i­ty to ensure crit­i­cal out­comes for chil­dren and fam­i­lies. With so much at stake, they need pro­grams and prac­tices that work. But, repli­cat­ing the right out­comes requires effec­tive imple­men­ta­tion — and effec­tive imple­men­ta­tion requires the right resources.

That’s why the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion has devel­oped a brief — called Fund­ing Imple­men­ta­tion of Evi­dence-Based Pro­grams in Child Wel­fare” — to help child wel­fare agency admin­is­tra­tors and part­ners fund, imple­ment and sus­tain effec­tive evi­dence-based programs.

The doc­u­ment, which is based off inter­views with child wel­fare lead­ers who have suc­cess­ful­ly walked this path, presents eight core strate­gies for imple­men­ta­tion. These strate­gies con­sid­er key fac­tors — costs, fund­ing streams, part­ner­ships and resource allo­ca­tion — through a lens that’s spe­cif­ic to the child wel­fare field.

The strate­gies that emerge from these real-world suc­cess sto­ries can give lead­ers a path for thought­ful­ly allo­cat­ing child wel­fare resources toward what works,” says Suzanne Barnard, direc­tor of the Foundation’s Evi­dence-Based Prac­tice Group. When the right pro­grams can be oper­at­ed well every time, kids and fam­i­lies will benefit.”

The brief iden­ti­fies four stages of imple­men­ta­tion and adopts an imple­men­ta­tion sci­ence frame­work to help child wel­fare admin­is­tra­tors con­sid­er costs and resources at each junc­ture. The four stages of imple­men­ta­tion are:

  1. Explo­ration. Evi­dence-based pro­grams are iden­ti­fied by assess­ing where com­mu­ni­ty needs, evi­dence-based pro­gram needs and avail­able resources align.
  2. Instal­la­tion. Resources are devel­oped to pre­pare for implementation.
  3. Imple­men­ta­tion. Prac­ti­tion­ers and staff inte­grate new knowl­edge, skills, prac­tices and pro­ce­dures into their dai­ly work.
  4. Sus­tain­abil­i­ty. Prac­ti­tion­ers and staff rou­tine­ly pro­vide high-qual­i­ty ser­vices, and the new pro­gram becomes the way the orga­ni­za­tion car­ries out its work.

Strate­gies one, two and three, which are spe­cif­ic to the Explo­ration stage, focus on study­ing and iden­ti­fy­ing evi­dence-based mod­els that match the tar­get population’s needs.

Strate­gies four, five and six span both the Instal­la­tion and Imple­men­ta­tion stages. These strate­gies focus on align­ing staffing resources and prac­tices to sup­port pro­gram start-up and also on cul­ti­vat­ing part­ner­ships with ser­vice providers and men­tal health sys­tems to strength­en pro­gram delivery.

The final strate­gies — sev­en and eight — are spe­cif­ic to the Sus­tain­abil­i­ty stage. These strate­gies call for doc­u­ment­ing costs sav­ings and aim to ensure that every­one involved, from agency staff to pro­gram devel­op­ers, under­stands their respec­tive roles in mon­i­tor­ing, report­ing and qual­i­ty improvement.

Read Fund­ing Imple­men­ta­tion of Evi­dence-Based Pro­grams in Child Welfare”

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