Over the past several years, a large amount of information has been collected on the risk and protective factors for violence. Research has also identified prevention programs that can modify these risk and protective factors. The Blueprints initiative has been in the forefront in identifying exemplary programs that have been evaluated in rigorous, controlled trials, and much attention has been focused nationally on selecting and implementing quality programs. However, identification of effective programs is only the first step in the efforts to prevent and control violence. Widespread implementation of effective programs is unlikely to affect the incidence of violent crime unless there is careful attention given to the quality of implementation, the degree to which a program is delivered as intended (American Youth Policy Forum, 1999; Biglan & Taylor, 2000; Lipsey, 1999). Research demonstrates that successful implementation is not guaranteed by a site?s decision to adopt a best practices program. Many science-based programs have been adopted in different settings with widely varying outcomes. In fact, a high quality implementation of a poor program may be more effective than a low quality implementation of a best practice program (Gottfredson, Gottfredson, & Czeh, 2000). Until recently, little emphasis has been given to implementing programs with fidelity in both the science and practice of prevention. As a result, most people do not recognize the importance of implementation fidelity and feel that implementation of at least some program components will be better than doing nothing. However, this may be an erroneous belief, since we typically do not know which components of a program may be responsible for the reductions in violence. Programs must be implemented with fidelity to the original model to preserve the behavior change mechanisms that made the original model effective (Arthur & Blitz, 2000).
Bibliography: Mihalic, S., Director, Blueprints for Violence Prevention Initiative. 2002. Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence. Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, 442 UCB, Boulder, Colorado, 2002.