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Keywords:

  • children's services empirical (or) evidenced-based;
  • research;
  • implementation

There is an emerging consensus on the need to improve mental health services by better use of empirically based services, services that have been validated as effective in well designed studies. However, there is currently little guidance for policy-makers and clinicians about which services for which individuals are empirically based—and even less guidance on how to implement such services. The Hawaii Empirical Basis to Services Task Force was a broad-based effort to develop guidelines for services to children considering the available research. This article reviews and critiques the Task Force's work, finding it a great contribution to the field. However, the Task Force's contribution is also sharply limited by inadequacies in current research, especially in considering the relevance and utility of empirically based interventions to the real world problems of children and contexts for their care.