Use of Research Evidence and Implementation of Evidence-Based Practices in Youth-Serving Systems

Although the effectiveness of interventions for prevention and treatment of mental health and behavioral problems in abused and neglected youth is demonstrated through the accumulation of evidence through rigorous and systematic research, it is uncertain whether use of research evidence (URE) by child-serving systems leaders increases the likelihood of evidence- based practice (EBP) implementation and sustainment. Information on URE was collected from 151 directors and senior administrators of child welfare, mental health and juvenile justice systems in 40 California and 11 Ohio counties participating in an RCT of the use of community development teams (CDTs) to scale up implementation of Treatment Foster Care Oregon over a 3 year period (2010-12). Separate multivariate models were used to assess independent effects of evidence acquisition (input), evaluation (process), application (output), and URE in general (SIEU Total) on two measures of EBP implementation, highest stage reached and proportion of activities completed at pre-implementation, implementation and sustainment phases. Stage of implementation and proportion of activities completed in the implementation and sustainment phases were independently associated with acquisition of evidence and URE in general. Participation in CDTs was significantly associated with URE in general and acquisition of research evidence in particular. Implementation of EBPs for treatment of abused and neglected youth does appear to be associated with use of research evidence, especially during the later phases.

(Abstract via Children and Youth Services Review.)


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