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Inter-Organizational Collaboration in the Implementation of Evidence-based Practices Among Public Agencies Serving Abused and Neglected Youth


This study examined the role of inter-organizational collaboration in implementing new evidence-based practices for addressing problem behaviors in at-risk youth. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 38 systems leaders of probation, mental health, and child welfare departments of 12 California counties participating in a large randomized controlled trial to scale-up the use of Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care. Three sets of collaboration characteristics were identified: (1) characteristics of collaboration process, (2) characteristics of the external environment, and (3) characteristics of participating organizations and individuals. Inter-organizational collaboration enables an exchange of information and advice and a pooling of resources individual agencies may require for successful implementation.

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Support for this research was provided by the William T. Grant Foundation [Grant ID# 9493] and, for the parent grant, NIMH RO1MH07658 and DHHS Childrens’Bureau. The sponsors did not have a role or influence in the study design, the collection, analysis and interpretation of data, writing of the report, and the decision to submit the article for publication.

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Correspondence to Lawrence A. Palinkas.

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Palinkas, L.A., Fuentes, D., Finno, M. et al. Inter-Organizational Collaboration in the Implementation of Evidence-based Practices Among Public Agencies Serving Abused and Neglected Youth. Adm Policy Ment Health 41, 74–85 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10488-012-0437-5

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  • Mental health services
  • Child welfare
  • Juvenile justice
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Implementation
  • Collaboration