Early intervention - from evidence to implementation: The policy-maker's tale. A case study

Occasional Paper No. 4

Published: 2003

Implementing evidence from research, into policy, and then practice, is a challenging task, glistening with opportunities and fraught with practical difficulties and political realities. This case study describes a process of taking research evidence, embedding it into policy and then implementing and making it happen 'on the ground', as a 'live' early intervention program in South Australia.

Evidence on the level of disadvantage of people living in particular geographic locations in metropolitan Adelaide, and research on effective early intervention programs for disadvantaged families with infants were used to support policy directions and to gain funding to establish a pilot program. A community development approach was adopted, and strategies used to ensure the participation of those communities in the design and establishment of the program are also discussed. A number of key criteria were identified to support the successful transition from research, to policy, to planning and practice, and these are reviewed in the light of experience.

This is a sobering tale, with exciting outcomes but a number of important lessons, which may be helpful to others seeking to ensure the successful implementation of early intervention programs for children and their families in Australia.

Authored by PHIDU

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