Community Academic Partnerships for Implementation in Child Welfare
Presenters: Alicia Bunger & Fawn Gadel
Where: Implementation Research Institute (IRI) – Washington University in St. Louis
When: Thursday, June 20, 2019
In this session, we focus on engaging organizational stakeholders in dissemination and implementation research, specifically within child welfare contexts. We review the history of a partnership between researchers at Ohio State University (Bunger) and the Public Children Services Association of Ohio (PCSAO; Gadel) a statewide child-welfare organization that represents 85 public child welfare organizations. Because conversations are at the heart of partnerships, we discuss with each other the different motivations and needs that bring researchers and organizational partners to the table, how we identify mutual implementation goals and research questions, setting expectations up-front, managing research burden on front-line staff, and working through challenges over a project’s duration.
Strategies for Launching Community-Academic Partnerships: Lessons Learned from Ohio START. The opioid crisis has had devastating consequences for families, especially children entering foster care as a result of caregivers’ substance misuse. The Ohio START (Sobriety Treatment and Reducing Trauma) program was launched in 2017, expediting substance use screening, treatment access, integrated child welfare/substance use services, and use of family peer mentors in 32 counties. However, creative adaptations and implementation supports were needed to help the 14 Appalachian counties involved in the project to leverage community strengths, and address limited substance use treatment options in the region. To expand counties’ capacity for adapting and implementing Ohio START, a strong partnership among Ohio’s children services agencies, the behavioral health system, and two major universities evolved. In this session, children services and academic stakeholders will share how they collaboratively:
1. Developed and adapted data systems (i.e. the Needs Portal) that synthesizes practice-relevant
2. Designed a rigorous evaluation to build the evidence base for the national START (Sobriety,
Treatment and Recovery Teams) model in light of the Families First Prevention Services Act,
3. Tailored longitudinal outcome data collection protocols to engage caregivers, and
4. Secured new financial resources to develop implementation tools.
From both community and academic perspectives, the team will share practical strategies for launching collaborations based on their experiences including (1) identifying objectives/goals that bring community partners and researchers to the table, (2) strategies for engaging partners throughout the duration of a project’s lifecycle, and (3) anticipating and addressing common collaboration challenges.