The disconnects among research, policy, and practice are widely recognized. These three sectors are frequently siloed, and all of them have unique and systemic impediments to collaboration. At the same time, harnessing their individual strengths in a collective manner could solve the challenging social problem of child maltreatment. State policies greatly influence the provision of child welfare services and child maltreatment prevention efforts, and programs and services typically are administrated at least in part at the state level. As such, improving cross-sector collaboration at the state level is paramount. To build effective and lasting collaborations, teams of researchers, policymakers, and practitioners must be trained to understand each other’s strengths and barriers to collaboration. The vision of this initiative is to train policymakers how to use data to make decisions related to child maltreatment prevention; train researchers how to develop and present their research so that it is useful to policymakers and practitioners; train practitioners how to implement practices that align with current research and policy; and develop a framework that jurisdictions across the nation can use to better align research, policy, and practice to prevent child maltreatment. Applying the principles of Design Thinking within a cross-sector training and collaboration has the potential to disrupt and radically change how these sectors work together to end child maltreatment.
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The authors wish to thank the Center for the Study and Promotion of Communities, Families, and Children at Florida State University, and Tai Cole for their assistance in creating figures for this paper. Additionally, the authors wish to thank the Doris Duke Fellowship for the Promotion of Child Well-being for cohosting an event at the 2019 Prevent Child Abuse America Conference to bring researchers, policymakers, and practitioners together to discuss barriers to partnerships. Discussions among fellows, statewide prevention practitioners, and state legislators at the event contributed to this paper.
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Schelbe, L., Wilson, D.L., Fickler, W. et al. Bridging the Gaps Among Research, Policy, and Practice in the Field of Child Maltreatment Through Cross-Sector Training and Innovation. Int. Journal on Child Malt. 3, 293–305 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42448-020-00054-6
- Research-policy-practice partnerships
- Cross-sector training
- Design Thinking
- Child maltreatment prevention