IMPLEMENTATION IN THE HUMAN SERVICES
When a new way of doing work is initiated or introduced in an agency or organization, the following questions arise:
- How does staff know what they are supposed to do?
- When are staff supposed to do "it"?
- How are staff supposed to do "it"?
- Is “it” going to fit within the organizational structure and culture?
The act or process of implementation is not so simple, with a gap sometimes occurring between what is intended to be implemented and what is actually implemented in practice.
The complexity of this process has given rise to the study called "Implementation Science," or IS. The National Institute of Health (NIH) provides a definition of IS, which helps us to understand what makes for a smoother transition from knowing about a particular new practice to actually implementing that practice in an agency in some organized way. The "stages of implementation" provide a practical and logical explanation about what happens in each step of the process.
Implementation Science has been studied by many experts, who agree that implementation:
- Is a social process, requiring champions, networks, and (human or) resource drivers to initiate the process;
- Requires inter and intra agency support and collaboration;
- Stresses the ability to adhere to a model while at the same time considering adaptations for special populations;
- Involves a multi-layered approach for success.
For more information about specific Implementation framework and/or models, see the following:
- the National Implementation Research Network (NIRN) model,
- the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR), or
- the Availability, Responsiveness, Continuity (ARC) Model
- the Framework to Design, Test, Spread and Sustain Effective Practice in Child Welfare (Children's Bureau)
IMPLEMENTATION TOOLKITS IN THE HUMAN SERVICES
An Implementation Toolkit is an assembly of instruments that, when used collectively or separately, can be handy for implementing a new program, practice, project, or initiative. Users can apply the toolkit in its entirety, or they may find certain portions of it particularly informative for their needs.
Toolkits are designed to help users implement more seamlessly, thereby bridging or reducing the gap between implementation and practice. They provide a blueprint for what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. Implementation drivers, implementation teams, and implementation champions, together with agency or organizational leadership, are vitally important to the success of any implementation effort.
An Implementation Toolkit could take the shape of a written step-by-step process guide. Instead, however, we have opted to place toolkit information online in an effort to be more responsive to various users and more convenient. Users can print what they need for their purposes.
This website provides definitions, descriptions, and examples of the components necessary for the construction of an Implementation Toolkit. Templates are provided to help users build their own Implementation Toolkit from start to finish. Sample toolkits are also provided.
These toolkits were created by various stakeholders when an innovative or new practice or program was implemented. Click each link to access the toolkit:
- American Indian Enhancement Project
- Birth to Six (0- 6)
- Fostering Connections After 18 (AB 12)
- Father Engagement & Father Involvement
If you have questions or comments about Implementation Toolkits and/or the information on this website, please contact Melissa Connelly, Director, Child Welfare In-Service Training Project, firstname.lastname@example.org.
BUILDING AN IMPLEMENTATION TOOLKIT FROM START TO FINISH
If you have been tasked with coordinating or being a member of an implementation team for a new initiative, program, or intervention that is not already on this website, and are interested in learning more about how to build your own Implementation Toolkit, you can use the documents below as templates. Typically, Implementation Toolkits have the following components (click on each component for a description of what it is and its use):
- Definitional Tools
- Engagement & Communication Tools
- Assessment Tools
- Planning Tools
- Training, Coaching, and Transfer of Learning (TOL) Tools
- Evaluation Tools
- Policy and Procedures Tools
- Fiscal and Funding Tools
How to Build an Implementation ToolKit from Start to Finish can help you if you need to build an Implementation Toolkit. It is important that implementers have or develop the capacity to implement an initiative, program, or intervention successfully and with fidelity.