An Overlapping Systems Conceptual Framework to Evaluate Implementation of a Behavioral Health Intervention for Justice–Involved Youth

Diana Bowser, Brandy F. Henry, Kathryn E. McCollister

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Background: Nearly 65% of justice–involved youth have a substance use and/or mental health disorder. Although evidence–based practices have been established for adolescents with co–occurring mental health and substance use disorders, these practices are not widely used in juvenile justice agencies due to environmental and organizational complexities. Methods: Our study builds on Juvenile Justice—Translational Research on Interventions for Adolescents in the Legal System (JJ–TRIALS), a multi–site cooperative research initiative of juvenile justice and partnering behavioral health agencies. We also integrate state and county–level data to support broader assessment of key drivers of implementation success. Results: We present an economics/systems conceptual model describing how the environmental context, systems organization, and economic costs of implementation can affect implementation outcomes. Comparison of intervention condition (Core vs Enhanced) and pre–implementation costs (High vs Low) found differences in insurance reimbursements and types, as well as agency staffing characteristics. Discussion: Implementing new procedures or policies at a systems level must consider implementation outcomes in a broad context. Factors such as population demographics, primary care and behavioral health treatment capacity, unemployment rates, and public funding for treatment and other services are important in determining intervention success and sustainability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHealth Services Insights
StatePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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