A View from the Top: Executive and Management Challenges in a Statewide Implementation of an Evidence-based Practice to Reduce Child Neglect
Authors: Lawrence A Palinkas and Gregory A Aarons
Abstract: Factors that enhance or impede the implementation of evidence-based practices (EBPs) in child welfare systems are poorly understood due to the lack of empirical evidence. Agency and program administrator perspectives on these factors are believed to be especially important given their leadership role in and influence on implementation processes. Methods: We interviewed 13 executive and program directors of agencies providing comprehensive home-based services and participating in a statewide effectiveness trial of an EBP to reduce child neglect. Grounded theory analytic methods were used to elicit themes from interview transcripts. Results: We identified six critical determinants of EBP implementation: 1) availability of resources, 2) positive external relations, 3) agency leadership support for EBPs, 4) high motivation/low resistance in staff, 5) tangible benefits for staff, and 6) perceived benefits outweigh perceived costs. Conclusions: Efforts to address the identified factors should promote more effective management for implementation of EBPs in child welfare and social service systems.