Building Trusting Relationships to Support Evidence Use in Human Services

Can training and coaching contribute to the development of trusting relationships between agency leadership and staff and their community partners? And to what extent do those relationships improve the use of evidence in decision-making and implementation of evidence-informed initiatives in the public child welfare system?

This study builds on a previous Officers’ Research grant on the importance of trusting relationships in enabling successful program implementation and sustained evidence use. In that work, Metz and colleagues found that high-quality relationships between researchers providing implementation support and practitioner partners in child and family services were the critical factor in achieving implementation results. Now, Metz and colleagues will partner with an implementation team at the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (NJ DCF) to further guide the development and day-to-day work of professionals who provide implementation support to implement evidence-based initiatives in human services sectors. The study will assess the feasibility, acceptability, and initial outcomes of the co-designed training and coaching curriculum using a mixed-methods study design. The research team will collect data to measure the gains in trust between baseline and post-training for implementation teams, and will conduct interviews including questions about the extent to which trainees believe the development of trusting relationships improved the use of evidence for decision-making and implementation of evidence-informed initiatives.

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