Considerations for Scaling Evidence-Based Prevention Programs under the Family First Prevention Services Act

The federal Family First Prevention Services Act of 2018 (Family First Act) seeks to keep children safely with their families through the provision of evidence-based services to prevent foster care entry.1 States and tribes preparing for and implementing the Family First Act can benefit from lessons learned in jurisdictions such as New York City (NYC) that were early adopters of evidence-based prevention services. In this brief, we present two evidence-based models (EBMs), implemented in NYC, as case studies: Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT) and Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP). Drawing on interviews with the purveyors of the two EBMs, as well as community-based provider agencies implementing these EBMs in NYC, we identify four key factors that influence the scale-up of EBMs in child welfare. We conclude with considerations for jurisdictions preparing to implement prevention services under the Family First Act as they seek to build a service continuum that better meets the needs of children and families.


Our findings are organized using the framework developed by the Society for Prevention Research’s Mapping Advances in Prevention Science (MAPS) IV Translation Research Task Force. The MAPS IV Task Force identified six common factors that influence scale-up of EBMs in public systems, including child welfare systems: (1) developer2 and funder capacity, (2) public awareness and support for EBMs, (3) community engagement and capacity, (4) leadership and support for EBMs, (5) skilled workforce, and (6) data monitoring and evaluation capacity (Fagan et al., 2019). We highlight findings from our interviews across four of these factors—purveyor capacity, skilled workforce, data monitoring and evaluation capacity, and leadership and support—and include lessons from the literature for each of these factors.