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Does place matter in the implementation of an evidence-based program policy in an Australian place-based initiative for children?

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Policy-mandated requirements for use of evidence-based programs (EBP) in place-based initiatives are becoming more common. Little attention has been paid to the geographic aspects of uneven market development and urbanicity in implementing EBPs in large place-based initiatives. The aim of this study was to explore geographic variation in knowledge, attitudes, and experiences of service providers who implemented an EBP policy in Australia's largest place-based initiative for children, Communities for Children. A cross-sectional online survey of Communities for Children service providers was conducted in 2018–2019, yielding 197 participants from all of Australia's eight states and territories. Relationships between two measures of ‘place’ (thick and thin market states; urbanicity: urban, regional and remote) and study-designed measures of knowledge, attitudes, and implementation experiences were analyzed using adjusted logistic and multinomial regressions. Participants from thin market states (outside the Eastern Seaboard) were more resistant to the policy and experienced greater implementation challenges than those from thick market states (Eastern Seaboard). Regional participants reported greater knowledge about EBPs but experienced greater dissatisfaction and implementation challenges with the policy than both urban and remote participants. Our study found that place does matter when implementing EBPs in a place-based initiative.


The authors are appreciative of the assistance and support of this study by the Australian Government Department of Social Services and the Australian Institute of Family Studies. The authors thank those who participated in this study for their time and insights. Open access publishing facilitated by La Trobe University, as part of the Wiley - La Trobe University agreement via the Council of Australian University Librarians.


Publication Date



Health and Social Care in the Community





Article Number



15p. (p. e5786-e5800)


John Wiley & Sons Ltd.



Rights Statement

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. © 2022 The Authors.

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