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April 2021Vol. 22, No. 4Scaling Evidence-Based Prevention Programs Under the Title IV-E Prevention Services Program

A brief by Child Trends identifies four key factors that influence the scaling of evidence-based models (EBMs) in child welfare and what to consider when implementing services to prevent unnecessary entry into foster care. The Title IV-E Prevention Services Program, as amended by the Family First Prevention Services Act, includes provisions to keep children with their families, when it is safe to do so, with evidence-based services and provides federal funding to do so. The brief uses two EBMs as case studies and interviews the purveyors and community-based provider agencies that focus on purveyor capacity.

Researchers selected child-parent psychotherapy (CPP) and brief strategic family therapy (BSFT) as the two program models. Both are mental health intervention programs but serve caregivers with children in different age ranges. CPP focuses on attachment and behavioral challenges in children who have experienced trauma, while BSFT focuses on children and youth who engage in or are at risk of developing behavior problems such as substance use. The case studies highlight the following four factors:

  • Purveyor capacity
  • Skilled workforce
  • Data monitoring and evaluation capacity
  • Leadership and support

There are three findings that researchers found for states to consider when preparing for and implementing EBMs:

  • Strong infrastructure and capacity are needed to meet the expanded demands for these programs.
  • Successfully implementing EBMs into child welfare systems requires strong and sustained relationships across organizations and agencies.
  • Solid and continuous data collection is required to monitor program implementation and outcomes, especially as EBMs are adapted to cultural and agency contexts.

Read Considerations for Scaling Evidence-Based Prevention Programs Under the Family First Prevention Services Act for a complete overview of the factors, examples of their implementation and limitations, and lessons learned and recommendations.