Willing, Able -> Ready: Basics and Policy Implications of Readiness as a Key Component for Scaling up Implementation of Evidence-Based Interventions. How Do We Partner With and Foster Readiness in Settings With Limited Capacity and Willingness?


Some organizations with critical needs and who receive federal funding may not currently have the capacity to implement EBIs with quality.7 This problem can be addressed by working with these organizations to first build their capacity through a readiness development phase of the initiative. For example, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has done this with its Circles of Care program, which helps tribal communities build a capacity to implement systems of care and in so doing, to compete for grants under the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and Their Families Program. The Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program is another example. Lessons learned from this effort emphasize the importance of developing trusting relationships in which federal staff and TA providers work closely with grantees during the project period to provide support in three major areas: (a) developing a needs assessment and plan for responding to identified needs, (b) developing and carrying out their implementation plans, and (c) designing and carrying out a locally driven rigorous evaluation.

Another example includes the Permanency Innovations Initiative (PII) which is a multi-site federal demonstration project designed to improve permanency outcomes among children in foster care who face the most serious barriers to permanency (Permanency Innovations Initiative Training and Technical Assistance Project & Permanency Innovations Initiative Evaluation Team, 2013).

An overarching objective of PII is to develop interventions that are supported by solid evidence of effectiveness and are ready for replication, adaptation, and broad-scale rollout. PII grantees are guided through four implementation stages: exploration, installation, initial implementation, and full implementation. A specific focus of PII is on building readiness during the exploration stage where grantees receive technical assistance to coordinate a teaming structure, select and promote buy-in for an intervention, and plan for implementation and evaluation of the intervention. These activities are intentionally intended to create readiness for change within grantee organizational structures, ensure the appropriateness of the selected target population for intervention, assess the needs of the target population, and determine the feasibility of the interventions meeting those needs.

7 An important first step is to assess the potential of organizations to develop readiness (DiMaggio & Powell, 1983; Levin & Minton, 1986). Several measures to be used for this purpose are listed in Additional Resources.

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