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Studying Drivers of Risk and Needs Assessment Instrument Implementation in Juvenile Justice

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2018
20 pages
This Juvenile Justice Bulletin presents research findings on factors that promote effective implementation of risk-and-needs assessment instruments in the juvenile justice system.
The research reviewed was funded by the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). The research determined that most states have implemented a uniform risk-and-needs assessment instrument in juvenile probation. These assessments can determine which youth are at greatest risk for reoffending and identify the needs of each youth for targeting intervention services. These instruments, however, are not always fully implemented in practice, which can have adverse effects on case outcomes. Using a framework based on implementation science, the researchers analyzed qualitative and quantitative data to identify the drivers of the effective implementation of risk-and-needs implementation instruments. Using a framework based in implementation science, the research reviewed in this bulletin analyzed qualitative and quantitative data to identify the drivers of the effective implementation of risk-and-needs assessment instruments. First, staff must have positive perceptions of the reliability, credibility, and applicability of the instrument in their particular jurisdiction. Second, staff and other stakeholders must be involved in the initial strategic planning, goal-setting, and problemsolving, so as to ensure early support for the effort. Third, there must be a pilot period for the use of the needs-and-assessment instrument that focuses on the training of staff and other stakeholders. Fourth, ongoing supervisory support and training must ensure that the project is implemented as intended. Fifth, standardized operating procedures and written policies for state and local agencies must be established, along with the ability to share information across multiple stakeholders. Sixth, a strong data infrastructure must be established that includes both user-friendly technological systems to support data collection and data expertise among staff. 2 figures and 39 references

Date Published: December 1, 2018