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Evidence-based practice adaptation during large-scale implementation: a taxonomy of process and content adaptations

Gregory A. Aarons (Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, California, USA) (Child and Adolescent Services Research Center, San Diego, California, USA)
Rachel A. Askew (School Board of Broward County, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA) (Child and Adolescent Services Research Center, San Diego, California, USA)
Amy E. Green (Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, California, USA) (Child and Adolescent Services Research Center, San Diego, California, USA)
Alexis J. Yalon (Looking Glass Youth and Family Services, Eugene, Oregon, USA)
Kendal Reeder (Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, California, USA) (Child and Adolescent Services Research Center, San Diego, California, USA)
Lawrence A. Palinkas (University of Southern California Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, Los Angeles, California, USA) (Child and Adolescent Services Research Center, San Diego, California, USA)

Journal of Children's Services

ISSN: 1746-6660

Article publication date: 15 July 2019

Issue publication date: 15 July 2019

186

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to identify the types of adaptations made by service providers (i.e. practitioners) during a large-scale US statewide implementation of SafeCare®, an evidence-based intervention to reduce child neglect; and second, to place adaptations within a taxonomy of types of adaptations.

Design/methodology/approach

Semi-structured interviews and focus groups were conducted with 138 SafeCare providers and supervisors. Grounded theory methods were used to identify themes, specific types of adaptations and factors associated with adaptation.

Findings

Adaptations were made to both peripheral and core elements of the evidence-based practice (EBP). The taxonomy of adaptations included two broad categories of process and content. Process adaptations included presentation of materials, dosage/intensity of sessions, order of presentation, addressing urgent concerns before focusing on the EBP and supplementing information to model materials. Content adaptations included excluding parts of the EBP and overemphasizing certain aspects of the EBP. Adaptations were motivated by client factors such as the age of the target child, provider factors such as a providers’ level of self-efficacy with the EBP and concerns over client/provider rapport. Client factors were paramount in motivating adaptations of all kinds.

Research limitations/implications

The present findings highlight the need to examine ways in which adaptations affect EBP implementation and sustainment, client engagement in treatment, and client outcomes.

Practical implications

Implementers and EBP developers and trainers should build flexibility into their models while safeguarding core intervention elements that drive positive client outcomes.

Originality/value

This study is unique in examining and enumerating both process and content types of adaptations in a large-scale child neglect implementation study. In addition, such adaptations may be generalizable to other types of EBPs.

Keywords

Citation

Aarons, G.A., Askew, R.A., Green, A.E., Yalon, A.J., Reeder, K. and Palinkas, L.A. (2019), "Evidence-based practice adaptation during large-scale implementation: a taxonomy of process and content adaptations", Journal of Children's Services, Vol. 14 No. 2, pp. 61-77. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCS-02-2018-0003

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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