Practical Implementation Planning Resources for Practitioners
The Model Programs Guide (MPG) provides policymakers and practitioners with valuable information about evidence-based juvenile justice and youth prevention, intervention, and reentry programs and practices. The new I-Guides (short for Implementation Guides) expand on this by providing MPG users with information on 10 steps that should be taken in the pre-implementation stage (that is, before identifying or implementing an evidence-based program or practice). The 10 steps are based on the research literature about successful implementation efforts and applied to common problems in juvenile justice and related fields. The I-Guides offer communities tips and action-oriented recommendations to better understand the problems they are facing, identify the best solutions, and lay the groundwork to help promote successful implementation of those solutions. One of the many benefits of the I-Guides is the variety of information that can be used by anyone at any point in this process.
The Categories and Steps of the I-Guides
The 10 steps (described here) are consistent across the I-Guides. They were created based on the implementation science research literature with input from policymakers and practitioners. (See: Research Basis). Although the I-Guides do not suggest a set order for preparing to implement programs or practices, the 10 steps are organized into three general categories: Start, Support, and Secure. Each component includes an introduction, recommended steps to take, examples from successfully implemented MPG programs, and additional resources.
- These components relate to building a solid foundation before implementing an evidence-based intervention.
- These components assist with putting a program or practice into place.
- These components relate to stabilizing and sustaining the program or practice within the community or jurisdiction.
These components relate to building a solid foundation before implementing an evidence-based intervention.Establish Clear Program Goals
Determine the outcomes you want to achieve. Define the metrics and data you will use to track performance, aid improvement, and measure results.Conduct a Needs Assessment
Gather background information to learn about specific problems or gaps in programming related to what you want to accomplish. You may decide to conduct interviews, focus groups, or surveys of certain individuals or a community. Gaining a better understanding about what is going on will help you to:
- define desired results;
- set priorities;
- identify the resources available to improve or enhance services already available.
Learn about the variety of programs and practices that address the change you are trying to realize.Get Stakeholder Buy-In
Engage and earn support from those who will be involved in or affected by the implementation of a new program or practice, such as service providers, other agency staff, youth and families, community members, policymakers, and other leaders.Identify Specific Jurisdictional Issues
Consider important characteristics of the jurisdiction or community that may affect implementation, such as setting (urban, suburban, rural), specific populations, political considerations, moral philosophies of stakeholders, and available resources.
These components assist with putting a program or practice into place.Procure Funding
Develop a feasible funding plan that considers public and private funding and other financing. Consider the real costs of operations even when they are supported by participating organizations or partners, including marketing, staff release time, start-up costs, and overhead.Provide Program Training
Provide training to individuals involved with implementing a program as designed (or adapted). Trained individuals may in turn train others involved in implementation, which may help build internal capacity and ensure sustainability of a program.Address Adaptation as Needed
Modify a program or practice model to fit the community’s specific needs while maintaining fidelity to the model. Consider the possibility of implementing specific program components instead of a whole program.
These components relate to stabilizing and sustaining the program or practice within the community or jurisdiction.Handle Unanticipated Problems or Setbacks
Consider challenges or setbacks that may arise during implementation. Often, issues arise that are not considered or anticipated ahead of time. Establish a reporting or feedback process to help decision-makers learn from experience.Ensure Long-term Sustainability
Even before implementing a program, it is important to consider how to maintain the program in the long run. Keep in mind the continuation of funding, ongoing training, capacity building, and scaling up effective programs.