ACF Request for Public Comment on Implementing a Clearinghouse of Evidence-based Practices - Elements for Consideration

The public comment period is an opportunity for professionals in the youth and family services field to advise and influence the Administration for Children and Families about how to implement and operate a new Clearinghouse of evidence-based practices mandated by the Family First Prevention Services Act of 2018 (FFPSA).  The intent is to facilitate replication of effective programs and practices that work to keep families together while delivering positive outcomes for “children who are candidates for foster care or who are pregnant or parenting foster youth and the parents or kin caregivers of the children.” Following is a brief outline of elements for consideration:

Scope of services and practices to include in the Clearinghouse:

  1. Mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment programs
  2. In-home parenting education, skills training, and counseling programs
  3. Kinship navigator programs

Definitions and criteria of proposed classifications for practices included in the Clearinghouse:

  1. Promising
  2. Supported
  3. Well supported

Procedures for:

  1. Identifying programs and services as candidates for review
  2. Prioritizing candidates for review
  3. Identifying relevant studies about candidates
  4. Systematic review and rating of evidence
  5. Classification of programs and services

Criteria for programs and services to review:

  1. Book, manual or other documentation defining proper implementation
  2. Target populations (particularly those in addition to but “similar” to children and families involved in the child welfare systems)
  3. Target outcomes related to mental health, substance abuse, safety, well being, etc. as well as research supporting recommendations of those outcomes
  4. Number of impact studies
  5. Actively in use
  6. Implementation and fidelity support
  7. Trauma-informed approach
  8. In-home delivery of services

Criteria for evidence for review:

  1. Quantitative impact study
  2. Target outcomes
  3. Studies conducted in U.S., U.K., Canada, New Zealand, or Australia
  4. Studies published in English
  5. Prepared or published in or after 1990
  6. Conducted in usual care or practice setting

Criteria for prioritizing studies for evaluation:

  1. Implementation period (particularly guidance around proposed “not more than 12 months”)
  2. Sample population (particularly those in addition to but “similar” to children and families involved in the child welfare systems)

Criteria for evaluating evidence:

  1. Favorable effects
  2. Unfavorable effects
  3. Sustained favorable effect
  4. Rigorous study design
  5. Rigorous study analysis
  6. Reliability, validity, and systematic administration of outcome measures