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Defining Behavioral Health Terms: Evidence-Based Practice

Written on: July 17th, 2017 in Early InterventionPreventionResearchTreatment

You may hear the term Evidence-Based Practice, or EBP, to describe a skills-development or treatment program and wonder what that really means. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines Evidence-Based Practice as a practice that based on rigorous research that has demonstrated effectiveness in achieving the outcomes it is designed to achieve.

In practical terms, this means a treatment or program is provided to children and families in a way that was successful for other people with similar needs. When agencies implement a program as designed, children and families are more likely to see positive results. Many evidence-based practice programs can help children and families learn skills and strategies that help them manage challenges their family faces and improve communication.

Program models need time before they can become an evidence-based practice. Researchers review information reported during program participation, including outcome data. They also consider how long changes last after the program ends. Improvements and change must match the goals of the program. If a practice does not achieve the intended goals, changes may be made to the model. When others provide the same program, the results should be similar to show that the program model does what it says it does.


EBPs Are Available through DPBHS

Delaware has been increasing use of evidence-based practices in the child and adult serving systems. There is a lot of research about prevention, early intervention, treatment, and skills development programming. This information helps agencies, like ours, and community-based providers choose effective programs that will be helpful to Delawareans.

The Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health Services offers a number of evidence-based practices. We are working to improve our ability to deliver evidence-based services and add new research-proven methods into our system.

You can learn more about our treatment services here: and our prevention programs here:

To learn more about evidence-based practices, visit the following web-based resources:

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