Tips for successfully implementing CPS across your organization

The number of agencies asking Think:Kids for site-wide training on Collaborative Problem Solving is growing. As a result, we have been talking quite a bit around the conference room table about “Implementation Science,” which is the study of how to implement a new approach successfully, once we know that the approach works.

Here’s the issue: We know that Collaborative Problem Solving, when done well, works to decrease disruptive behaviors; reduce the reliance on restrictive interventions like restraints, seclusion, school office referrals and suspensions; decrease caregiver stress; and improve child-caregiver relationships. But CPS can be complicated for an individual clinician, teacher, or parent to implement; it can be even more complicated for a whole system to implement. So how do we ensure that when we hold CPS training at a school, a residential facility or hospital, or a juvenile justice program, staff will walk out of that training not just doing Collaborative Problem Solving, but doing it well?

Implementation Science research tells us that there are just a few core components of implementation that contribute most to the likelihood of success in cases like this. Take note, if you are trying to implement CPS (or any new approach) across your organization! In addition to the selection of high quality staff prior to training, those core components are:

  • High-quality training in the new approach, which should include practice (e.g., role plays) and opportunities for feedback
  • Ongoing coaching and consultation by trainers, to support and shape use of the new approachas the practitioners begin to use it and make expectable mistakes
  • Staff evaluation and assessment of fidelity to the new approach at the level of the practitioner and the organization

If you are in an organization that is trying to implement Collaborative Problem Solving site-wide, and if you feel like you need some help with any of these core components, see the tools available on our
website or ask us for help! It is important to us that CPS is being implemented well, so that your work
can have the greatest impact on children in need. We’re happy to share the tools we have developed to
increase your chances of successful implementation.

(For a very informative manual from the University of South Florida that provides much more detail on
these core components, as well as other key concepts related to Implementation Science, click here.)