Over the past decade, the science related to developing and identifying “evidence-based practices and programs” has improved-however the science related to implementing these programs with fidelity and good outcomes for consumers lags far behind. As a field, we have discovered that all the paper in file cabinets plus all the manuals on the shelves do not equal real world transformation of human service systems through innovative practice. While paperwork and manuals do represent what is known about effective interventions, these tools are not being used effectively to achieve behavioral health outcomes for children, families, and adults nationally. Clearly, state and national policies aimed at improving human services require more effective and efficient methods to translate policy mandates for effective programs into the actions that will realize them.
To this end, our intent is to describe the current state of the science of implementation, and identify what it will take to transmit innovative programs and practices to mental health, social services, juvenile justice, education, early childhood education, employment services, and substance abuse prevention and treatment. The content is distilled from a far-reaching review of existing implementation literature that looks beyond the world of human services to organize and synthesize critical lessons from agriculture, business, engineering, medicine, manufacturing, and marketing. As you will find, authors from around the globe share the rigors of attempting to implement practices and programs and agree that the challenges and complexities of implementation far outweigh the efforts of developing the practices and programs themselves.