• Dec 2011/Jan 2012
  • Vol. 12, No. 9

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How Networks Affect the Decision to Implement an EBP

A recent study published in Implementation Science explored how child welfare and other agency managers make the decision to implement an evidence-based practice (EBP). Thirty-eight administrators from 12 California counties were interviewed about multidimensional treatment foster care (MTFC), an EBP that can reduce out-of-home placement in group and residential care, substance abuse, and behavioral and emotional problems in foster youth. MTFC was gradually being implemented throughout the State.

In their interviews and through a web survey, the administrators also answered questions about their motivations to implement MTFC in their county, people who might influence their decision or other work-related decisions, their thoughts about collaboration, and similar topics.

The findings suggested that social networking positively affected the implementation of MTFC in two ways:

  • Through successful collaborations
  • By providing the information and support necessary for implementation

The data revealed that the administrators were part of networks based on their work roles, responsibilities, geography, and friendship. Their networks included people in the same agency and county, counterparts in other agencies, community-based providers, and community advocates. These networks exposed the administrators to information that influenced their decision to implement MTFC.

The counties that tended to be further along in their implementation of MTFC were larger and urban and received more "nominations" by others in their network. They also tended to have greater connectivity across counties.

The study's authors discuss their findings in terms of the contexts in which networks influence the implementation of EBPs.

The complete study, "Social Networks and Implementation of Evidence-Based Practices in Public Youth-Serving Systems: A Mixed Methods Study," by Lawrence Palinkas, Ian Holloway, Eric Rice, Dahlia Fuentes, Qiaobing Wu, and Patricia Chamberlain, was published in Implementation Science in September 2011 (Vol. 6:113) and is available on the journal website:


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