How can we keep it going? : key ingredients for evidence-based program sustainability
Cooper, Brittany Rhoades
Betz, Drew Lenore
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Highly regarded evidence-based programs aimed at improving youth and family well-being can fail easily when there is little or no planning for how to sustain the program past the first few initial implementations. Funding is often called out as the major reason for why programs do not last in communities. However, studies of program sustainability have shown that it is only one factor in program longevity, and perhaps not the most important factor. Four key ingredients for program sustainability are identified in this publication: program characteristics, organizational capacity and support, community capacity and support, and sustainability planning. The Program Sustainability Assessment Tool (PSAT), which is designed to assess and build capacity in these domains, is introduced. A case study illustrates how to use the PSAT effectively for long-term program planning and coordination. Youth and family program staff who are using evidence-based programs and want to assure they gain traction in their local communities can benefit from thinking about sustainability early and assessing and building capacity in these key ingredients throughout the program implementation process.