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Systematic Review of Factors That Impact Implementation Quality of Child Welfare, Public Health, and Education Programs for Adolescents: Implications for Juvenile Drug Treatment Courts

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2016
36 pages
In order to inform the development of guidelines for juvenile drug treatment courts (JDTCs), this study examined the evidence on factors that impact implementation quality and fidelity in other youth-serving systems, namely, child welfare, public health, and education programs for adolescents or adolescents and their families.
This study reviewed a universe of about 8,000 articles and selected 53 studies for analyses using meta-aggregation methods. The findings suggest that staff training, experiences, and personal characteristics should be matched to the JDTC's program requirements and the context of the client population. In addition, JDTC staff should have access to ongoing technical assistance and training. The larger justice system context should support JDTC staff in delivering the program as intended. This means they should not have their job duties split between the JDTC's therapeutic approach and the traditional adversarial approach of the courts. In order to learn how well the intervention is working, data should be collected regularly and used to improve the quality of services and outcomes for youth. Intervention outcomes are influenced by implementation quality and readiness to complete each step of the implementation cycle, which includes intervention selection, access to technical assistance, and relevance to the population or community targeted. The findings also align with previous research on JDTC implementation in showing the importance of improving community collaboration, reducing cross-system barriers, and using data for continuous quality improvement. New findings indicate that adherence to a fixed model of service delivery may have unintended negative effects with vulnerable populations when compliance requirements interfere with a particular intervention's theory of change. 4 exhibits and appended annotated listing of studies reviewed.

Date Published: November 1, 2016