Peter Scharf at at work in the congressional briefing2015A system founded on evidence-based practices is crucial to reform. These practices advance reforms that effectively hold young people accountable for their actions, provide for their rehabilitation, protect them from harm, increase their life chances, and can help manage the risk they pose to themselves and to public safety. A system founded on evidence-based practices must be able to:  a) identify the variety of needs of youth who come in contact with the juvenile justice system through utilization of scientifically sound screening and assessment instruments; and b) refer youth to a range of evidence-based services to meet their identified needs.  Successfully implementing a long-term, system-wide movement towards evidence-based practices, while perhaps one of the most important reforms that a state or local jurisdiction can take on, is also one of the most challenging.  Jurisdictions that take on this charge must address a number of complicated and interwoven challenges, including:

  • the need for broad support and knowledge among a range of changing stakeholders, leaders and personnel at the state and local levels (See resources below)
  • lack of knowledge about the various evidence-based practices available and the potential “fit” of these practices with the local community’s needs and resources;
  • capacity to implement evidence-based practices within the local provider community;
  • provider resistance to shifting from treatment-as-usual to an evidence-based practice, and to participate in fidelity and outcome monitoring processes;
  • funding streams that may not be structured to encourage or support evidence-based practices; and
  • the need for policy development that ensures the preferred utilization of evidence based practices

Related Documents:

EBP dissemination strategies documents

Stakeholder education and awareness

“Fit” of practices with local provider needs

Funding and Preferred utilization of EBPs