Principle-based implementation support during a time of crisis

Allison Metz, Leah Bartley, Amanda Farley

During this time of crisis, so much has changed for the service systems we partner with.  In response, we are shifting our support from building implementation capacity to helping agencies to meet the needs of families right now, while recognizing that staff and agency resources are stressed more than ever. In child welfare, these decisions and changes are particularly important as potential maltreatment may increase, while resources and access to supports for families during this time may be limited.  The Chronicle of Social Change has shared a compelling piece on what child welfare systems need to think about during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We took some time this week to pause and reflect on how our implementation support practices have changed in child welfare since the pandemic.  We realized that the five principles which guide our work – empathy, curiosity, commitment, methodical, transdisciplinary – are perhaps more critical in this time of crisis than ever before.  We decided to record part of an internal conversation to share with you how we think principle-based implementation support can be helpful as we make decisions around implementation and try to be the best partners possible for public agencies during this time. We talk about opportunities to lead with each of these principles in our shifting support:

  • Empathy – valuing the perspectives of practitioners and families and their changing needs during the pandemic
  • Curiosity – asking lots of questions to understand what people and communities are experiencing and listening for how our implementation support may need to change
  • Commitment – prioritizing the public agencies and communities we support and taking the time needed to get through this crisis together
  • Methodical – using data and evidence to help public agencies make quick modifications to current programs and practices that are responsive to the new context
  • Transdisciplinary – respecting different ways of knowing and valuing practice wisdom as we select implementation strategies to help address newly emerging challenges during the pandemic

We invite you to listen to this recording of our conversation.  More detail on these principles can be found in the Implementation Specialist Practice Profile. We plan to share more of our own reflective practice as implementation support practitioners during this time and would love to hear what others are thinking about and how your own work has changed.

Allison Metz is Director of the National Implementation Research Network (NIRN), a Senior Research Scientist at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, a Research Professor at the School of Social Work, and Adjunct Professor at the School of Global Public Health at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Leah Bartley is an Implementation Specialist at the National Implementation Research Network at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Amanda Farley is an Implementation Associate at the National Implementation Research Network at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Lived experience. Academic rigor. Professional triumph.

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Lacy has earned designation as a Master of Business Administration, a dual Master of Science in both Counseling Psychology and Leadership and Human Resource Development and is actively completing her PhD in Philosophy, Leadership and Human Resource Development. Her research centers on the same objective that forms the foundation of her career as both a speaker and workforce champion: revolutionizing leadership.

Lacy’s approach to leadership development fosters an environment where culture and collaboration flourish, creating a workplace where every voice is represented. She has been instrumental in transforming corporate environments, youth engagement efforts, and advocacy programs. She has worked across the U.S. and internationally in a variety of high profile roles, bringing innovative solutions to high stakes challenges.

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Marita Brack is the Associate Director for Psychology within NHS Education for Scotland, and has worked as a Clinical Psychologist for 25 years. Her clinical work has principally been within specialist mental health services for children, young people and their families, both in Scotland and Australia. Marita has also worked within university settings in relation to the training of Applied Psychologists, and was the Clinical Practice Director on the MSc in Applied Psychology for Children and Young People, delivered in partnership between the NHS and the University of Edinburgh. Marita joined NES in 2010 as the Head of Programme for the Parenting and Infant Mental Health workstream, within the Psychology Directorate, and through this role has led on the development and implementation of several strands of work, including the Psychology of Parenting Project (PoPP), the NES Infant Mental Health training plan, the Early Intervention Framework, and most recently Marita has been co-leading on the implementation of the Enhanced Psychological Practice-Children and Young People certificate level course that has been created within NES. Marita has a long-standing interest in early intervention and prevention approaches to strengthening mental health and wellbeing, evidence-based parent-child relationship interventions and public health. 

Category A – The UNC School of Social Work is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The UNC School of Social Work maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

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