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. 2013 Apr 1;35(4):642-656.
doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2013.01.007.

Effectiveness and Implementation of Evidence-Based Practices in Residential Care Settings

Free PMC article

Effectiveness and Implementation of Evidence-Based Practices in Residential Care Settings

Sigrid James et al. Child Youth Serv Rev. .
Free PMC article


Purpose: Prompted by calls to implement evidence-based practices (EBPs) into residential care settings (RCS), this review addresses three questions: (1) Which EBPs have been tested with children and youth within the context of RCS? (2) What is the evidence for their effectiveness within such settings? (3) What implementation issues arise when transporting EBPs into RCS?

Methods: Evidence-based psychosocial interventions and respective outcome studies, published from 1990-2012, were identified through a multi-phase search process, involving the review of four major clearinghouse websites and relevant electronic databases. To be included, effectiveness had to have been previously established through a comparison group design regardless of the setting, and interventions tested subsequently with youth in RCS. All outcome studies were evaluated for quality and bias using a structured appraisal tool.

Results: Ten interventions matching a priori criteria were identified: Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach, Aggression Replacement Training, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Ecologically-Based Family Therapy, Eye Movement and Desensitization Therapy, Functional Family Therapy, Multimodal Substance Abuse Prevention, Residential Student Assistance Program, Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, and Trauma Intervention Program for Adjudicated and At-Risk Youth. Interventions were tested in 13 studies, which were conducted in different types of RCS, using a variety of study methods. Outcomes were generally positive, establishing the relative effectiveness of the interventions with youth in RCS across a range of psychosocial outcomes. However, concerns about methodological bias and confounding factors remain. Most studies addressed implementation issues, reporting on treatment adaptations, training and supervision, treatment fidelity and implementation barriers.

Conclusion: The review unearthed a small but important body of knowledge that demonstrates that EBPs can be implemented in RCS with encouraging results.

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