Program administrators and staff are increasingly called to use evidence-based interventions (EBIs) and practices1 to improve outcomes for children and youth across a variety of areas. However, an often unmeasured but necessary precondition for undertaking program improvement activities is that an organization be “ready” for the change; that is, staff are motivated and capable of making the adjustments required. Readiness (or lack thereof) is key to whether a change will take hold successfully or fail to catch on. Readiness to implement EBIs effectively influences whether the time, energy, and money dedicated to new programs will be well spent.
The purpose of this brief is to describe the role of readiness in implementing and scaling up EBIs. Issues that are related to implementation readiness and EBI scale up are relevant to producing knowledge about what works, and for moving science into practice in socially significant ways. Readiness as conceptualized here, involves the extent to which the members of an organization as well as the organization as a whole are motivated, individually as well as strategically, and have the capacity to implement an intervention with quality. This brief is targeted primarily to staff working in federal agencies but it is also relevant to federal and state policymakers, practitioners, researchers, evaluators at all levels, and consumers—those who will ultimately benefit from the successful implementation of EBIs at scale.
1 We define “evidence-based interventions” as programs, practices, or policies that have been proven to positively change the problem being targeted by a body of scientific knowledge, usually including some form of evaluation (Kratochwill & Shernoff, 2003).