Studying Family Participation in System-of-care Evaluations: Using Qualitative Methods to Examine a National Mandate in Local Contexts
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- Jivanjee, P. & Robinson, A. J Behav Health Serv Res (2007) 34: 369. doi:10.1007/s11414-007-9051-9
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With the rapid pace of policy and practice changes in children’s mental health, there is a need for research to examine, describe, and disseminate information about the translation of policy directives into practice innovations at the local level. National policy mandates for children’s mental health have placed expectations on local communities to involve families as partners in the development, implementation, and evaluation of systems of care with little guidance about how to implement program requirements locally. Consequently, there is a gap in the knowledge base regarding how innovations are actually implemented in local community contexts. This article reports on a qualitative study to gain understanding of family participation in evaluations of systems of care from the perspectives of evaluators and family members working together. Findings provided rich examples of the experiences and perceptions of evaluators and family members working on evaluation teams, the challenges they encountered, and effective strategies to meet those challenges.