Published online by Cambridge University Press: 13 April 2022
I go monthly to the Children's System of Care meeting in Sacramento. And that's where other people in similar administrative positions to myself who are responsible for children's mental health services, we chew on these kinds of things. We discuss these kinds of things. And, you know, we have presentations, and so forth. So that is my peer group. And that, uhm, certainly provides a lot of information to me in making decisions. (Mental health services director)
In this chapter, we examine in detail the role of social networks in implementation process and outcomes. Beginning with a review of the importance of such networks in current implementation theories, models and frameworks, we focus on the Exploration, Preparation, Implementation and Sustainment (EPIS) framework developed by Aarons and colleagues (2011), and the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) developed by Damschroder and colleagues (2009). The chapter then summarizes research on the influence of social networks and inter-organizational collaborations in implementing Treatment Foster Care Oregon (TFCO) (Chamberlain et al, 2007), an EBP designed to meet the behavioral health needs of youth in foster care, in California and Ohio. This research also demonstrates how community development teams, a continuous quality improvement strategy developed by the California Institute of Mental Health, can be used to build and sustain such networks.
Interpersonal contacts and implementation
Interpersonal contacts within and between organizations and communities are among the most important influences on the adoption of new behaviors. Interpersonal relations were given a prominent role in diffusion theory in explaining how new ideas and cultural practices expand within and between communities (Green et al, 2009). The importance of interpersonal contact and the social networks that provide such contacts in the diffusion of new ideas and practices has been repeatedly demonstrated by empirical research, including the pioneering study of Ryan and Gross (1943), which emphasized the importance of social factors in understanding farmers’ adoption of new patterns of behavior. Rogers (2003) also emphasized the importance of social networks for both the diffusion and adoption of innovations. These contacts may influence the behavior of individual providers or the behavior of entire organizations.