The social services field is one of many embracing a shift toward evidence-based practices that have demonstrated efficacy through rigorous evaluations. Translating evidence-based practices from carefully controlled scenarios into widespread practice, however, brings challenges. Programs often need to make adaptions to account for variations in everything from target populations to enrollment obstacles—all without sacrificing fidelity.
This report focuses on factors that contribute to the success or failure of the implementation of an evidence-based practice or program. It looks beyond guidance for how staff should interact with program participants to other suggestions for boosting efficacy.
JBA’s findings are gleaned from our review of the research and from site visits to grantees of the Office of Family Assistance Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood Grant Programs. Each section includes recommendations for projects, such as—
- Identify project champions who believe in the project’s potential and can speak for the organization with community partners
- Research and utilize local needs assessment and asset mapping efforts
- Develop a project logic model
- Provide ongoing training and supervision to ensure appropriate implementation
- Make adaptions to model programs as early as possible
- Help participants overcome common barriers to participation, such as transportation, childcare, and time services are available
- Use existing standardized tools and instruments to measure success when possible
- Find ways to celebrate participants’ successes
- Begin sustainability planning early
Appendix A further describes JBA’s study background and methodology. Appendix B provides readers with a list of evidence-based practice resources for additional information.