Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to describe and discuss both the early implementation of a US mental health intervention for young children in the context of its introduction to a pilot site in a London borough and the progress made in establishing a randomised controlled trial (RCT). Design/methodology/approach: This paper describes an evaluation of a new intervention and the learning that followed in terms of its implementation and future evaluation. Qualitative data were collected from a range of stakeholders and practitioners through interviews and small group discussions. These interviews focussed on both of these issues, with particular reference to the proposal to conduct an RCT. Findings: The findings of this evaluation add to the evidence on how best to support new initiatives that have been introduced from other settings and countries to embed in a receiving site and the optimal timing and feasibility of conducting an RCT. At the end of the feasibility study, which took place within the year of the service being introduced and which was only open to clients for six months of this year the conclusion was that an RCT at that point was neither possible nor desirable. Over the following years, the commitment of the judiciary to examine if there was a way to make an RCT study in respect of this intervention meant that a template was established that may well have broader application. Research limitations/implications: At a time when there is an increasing demand for evidence on effective interventions this paper makes a valuable contribution to the development of RCTs in general and specifically in the family court arena. It also recommends that attention must also be paid to the time, which is needed to implement and establish interventions and then to test them. Practical implications: This paper highlights the need to establish realistic timescales not only around the implementation of initiatives but also for their evaluation. Originality/value: This study breaks new ground in considering implementation challenges in the court and children’s services’ context. It brings to the fore the important role of the judiciary in approving new processes.
- Randomized controlled trial