Thursday, May 12, 2016

Must-read: 4 Ways to Help Evidence-Based Programs Succeed

The Pew Charitable Trusts' 4 Ways to Help Evidence-Based Programs Succeed is an essential read for elected officials, policy makers, advocates, and anyone interested in maximizing government investment for good.

Evidence-based programs must also be implemented with fidelity to their design in order to deliver the outcomes policymakers and citizens expect.

Pew has identified four "key" steps government can―and I would argue must―take to improve their implementation of evidence-based programs; they also briefly explain the reasons for taking the particular action.

  1. Identify Needs and Goals, Then Select Proven Programs
  2. Align Policies and Processes
  3. Train Personnel
  4. Monitor Performance

I would add several other "must-do's":

  1. Understand the difference between evidence-based and best practices.   They are not the same.
  2. Focus on fidelity.   Often during implementation, changes are made and these can impact the effectiveness of the intervention.   Have a plan for addressing changes.   Responses could range from requiring program to implement as designed and helping organizations do that to de-funding (if using a non-government entity to implement).
  3. Fund independent assessment and evaluation.
  4. Fund fidelity checks if that is a part of the model.
  5. Fund the program for what the real cost is.   Underfunding is not an option with an evidence-based program.

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