How can we best help children, youth, and families involved in public systems including mental health, social service, substance use, education, healthcare, and juvenile justice systems? The answer is evidence based programs and practices (i.e. those that are backed by well-conducted research).
As a policymaker, your constituents may be asking you for help seeking or obtaining services for mental health or substance use concerns for their children or other family members. The National Alliance on Mental Illness notes that one in five Americans may be impacted by a mental health condition at some point in their lives, so you may be personally touched by these common challenges.
What can be done to support the thousands of us that consider South Carolina home when we face such challenges for our children and adolescents?
One way is to focus investment in the types of treatments that have been shown through careful and rigorous research to be effective (called evidence-based interventions).
The South Carolina Center of Excellence can help. Here on this website you can find information on some of the most common evidence-based practices used on our state; this list will grow and change over time as new programs and capabilities are added.
Links for Policymakers:
- A number of states and organizations are making significant investments in such programs and practices, and have invested resources to complete important benefit-cost analyses. One of the best examples of this effort is the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (http://www.wsipp.wa.gov/). Here, you will find the results of comprehensive benefit-cost analyses for interventions across important public service sectors: http://www.wsipp.wa.gov/benefitcost
- Evidence-Based Interventions for Youth with Behavioral Health and Substance Use Problems: A Report By The South Carolina Center of Excellence in Evidence-Based Intervention: This report is organized into three sections. The first section focuses on intensive family service programs that are designed to prevent out-of-home placement. The second section focuses on evidence-based family interventions that have been demonstrated to impact youth with substance abuse concerns and/or serious behavioral health conditions. The third section provides brief information on evidence-based parenting interventions as well as select interventions for specific youth concerns. These latter interventions may be incorporated into more intensive service delivery models or used as stand-alone interventions in outpatient, home, or community settings.
- Adam Gamoran writes in Science: “In July, a bipartisan group formed the Congressional What Works Caucus to encourage federal investments in evidence-based programs and policies. Since January, the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act has pushed federal agencies to develop learning agendas and appoint chief data officers to make better use of government data. What will it take to keep the light of evidence burning and ensure that the best science informs important decisions of our time?” Read the rest of the article about what’s needed to keep evidence-based interventions part of public policy.