How to Bring an Evidence-Based Practice to a Community

Posted by Sue Dee

How one community successfully established MST

Adopting an evidence-based practice such as Multisystemic Therapy (MST) is not for the faint of heart, as Maria Picone, Family and Community Services Department director at Catholic Charities of Buffalo, discovered. But she also discovered, it is well worth the effort. 


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Topics: EBPs, evidence-based practice

How to Sustain an Evidence-Based Practice like MST

Posted by Mara Osher, The New York Foundling

Tips on keeping an EBP funded and running from the New York Foundling

You can have a truly great program, one that brings families back together, put kids on the straight and narrow so they achieve their dreams and lead a productive life instead of landing in jail. But how good is the program if it doesn’t get beyond the implementation phase because seed money runs out?

Sustainability is crucial to an evidence-based practice (EBP). If it doesn’t last, how much good can it do? An examination by the Justice Research and Statistics Association (JRSA) found successful sustainability starts with a solid and complete implementation stage. “A program’s likelihood of sustainment can be significantly enhanced through several aspects of implementation: maintaining fidelity to core program components, articulating clear goals and developing a plan to achieve them, and demonstrating program success with measureable results and program evaluation.” Multisystemic Therapy (MST), for one, is super-diligent about maintaining fidelity to its Nine Principles to ensure program success and viability. And that’s one reason it has been around for two decades.  


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Topics: EBPs, evidence-based practice

Strengths of Implementing an Evidence-based Practice in a Climate of “It is simply too hard”

Posted by Stephen Phillippi, Ph.D.

Why implementing evidence-based practices is a good choice

Let’s start by being honest—it’s hard to implement Evidence-based Practices (EBPs). However, keep in mind, it’s even harder to start an unscripted practice even with the most well-intentioned service providers, rely on the limited scope of implementation expertise in many jurisdictions or shoot in the dark hoping for outcomes that may not even target the needs in your local community.


Just for argument’s sake, consider several alternatives. Without implementing an evidence-based practice, most jurisdictions or agencies will be doing business as usual. In other words, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. This is a common definition of insanity. Agencies and jurisdictions might have great ideas about helping youth that never get to implementation because there is no real plan. (Most evidence-based practices come with a plan.) They may have a few stellar “go to” clinicians, but what happens when they go? Individual clinician’s practices often can’t be replicated. (EBPs give you options for sustaining good practices with many different practitioners over time.)

Jurisdictions probably won’t know the longer-term outcomes of the youth in their care at the individual case level and certainly not at the aggregate system-impact level. (Most evidence-based practices come with data-collection tools and useful ways to monitor outcomes for practitioners and systems.)

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Topics: evidence-based programs, EBPs, evidence-based practice

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