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Team-focused implementation strategies to improve implementation of mental health screening and referral in rural Children's Advocacy Centers: study protocol for a pilot cluster randomized hybrid type 2 trial.
McGuier EA, Aarons GA, Wright JD, Fortney JC, Powell BJ, Rothenberger SD, Weingart LR, Miller E, Kolko DJ. Team-focused implementation strategies to improve implementation of mental health screening and referral in rural Children's Advocacy Centers: study protocol for a pilot cluster randomized hybrid type 2 trial. Implementation science communications. 2023 May 26; 4(1):58.
Children's Advocacy Centers (CACs) use multidisciplinary teams to investigate and respond to maltreatment allegations. CACs play a critical role in connecting children with mental health needs to evidence-based mental health treatment, especially in low-resourced rural areas. Standardized mental health screening and referral protocols can improve CACs' capacity to identify children with mental health needs and encourage treatment engagement. In the team-based context of CACs, teamwork quality is likely to influence implementation processes and outcomes. Implementation strategies that target teams and apply the science of team effectiveness may enhance implementation outcomes in team-based settings.
We will use Implementation Mapping to develop team-focused implementation strategies to support the implementation of the Care Process Model for Pediatric Traumatic Stress (CPM-PTS), a standardized screening and referral protocol. Team-focused strategies will integrate activities from effective team development interventions. We will pilot team-focused implementation in a cluster-randomized hybrid type 2 effectiveness-implementation trial. Four rural CACs will implement the CPM-PTS after being randomized to either team-focused implementation (n = 2 CACs) or standard implementation (n = 2 CACs). We will assess the feasibility of team-focused implementation and explore between-group differences in hypothesized team-level mechanisms of change and implementation outcomes (implementation aim). We will use a within-group pre-post design to test the effectiveness of the CPM-PTS in increasing caregivers' understanding of their child's mental health needs and caregivers' intentions to initiate mental health services (effectiveness aim).
Targeting multidisciplinary teams is an innovative approach to improving implementation outcomes. This study will be one of the first to test team-focused implementation strategies that integrate effective team development interventions. Results will inform efforts to implement evidence-based practices in team-based service settings.
Clinicaltrials.gov, NCT05679154 . Registered on January 10, 2023.