Recent research suggests that half of all children in the United States have experienced some type of traumatic event that threatens their safety or well-being. Children involved with the child welfare system are particularly vulnerable to trauma. Over the last decade, child welfare agency managers and stakeholders have been pursuing ways to ensure that practice is trauma-informed, i.e., based on research about how trauma affects human beings, and that all children served by the child welfare system are screened and assessed for trauma symptoms. The Minnesota Department of Human Services has supplemented these efforts with analyses of data systematically recorded by social workers to determine whether the likelihood of experiencing trauma symptoms can be estimated. A brief summary of this research can be found here.
In December 2013, The California Endowment funded the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) and Third Sector Capital Partners, Inc. to conduct a feasibility study on restorative community conferencing (RCC) to better understand its potential for a Pay for Success (PFS) project. An analysis of available data gathered since 2012 has revealed that of the young people who completed Alameda County’s RCC program, 26.5% were rearrested compared with 45.0% of a matched sample of youth whose cases were processed through the juvenile justice system. Notably, only 11.8% of the RCC youth were subsequently adjudicated delinquent— that is, determined by the court to have committed another delinquent act—compared with 31.4% of the matched sample of youth whose cases were processed through the juvenile justice system. Of participating crime victims, 99% stated they would participate in another RCC. This program also carries significant cost-saving potential, as these lower rates of reoffending combine with a one-time cost of $4,500 per RCC versus $23,000 per year for a youth on probation. With such promising data, NCCD and Third Sector sought to better understand how RCC could be scaled through a PFS project and what capacity building would need to take place for such a project to be feasible. The results of this analysis are detailed in the feasibility report.
NCCD has released new graphics that display important data on the effectiveness of risk assessments used in juvenile justice systems around the country. These charts come from NCCD’s study of eight risk assessments in 10 jurisdictions in consultation with an advisory board of juvenile justice researchers and developers of commercial risk assessment systems. In response to concerns voiced by juvenile justice practitioners and researchers about the classification and predictive validity of several risk assessments, NCCD conducted a multisite study that compared the assessments’ predictive validity, reliability, equity, and costs.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) partnered with NCCD’s Children’s Research Center (CRC) to implement a Structured Decision Making® (SDM®) risk assessment for child protective services (CPS). This actuarial risk assessment will help DFPS to identify families at highest risk of future child maltreatment to inform decisions related to service provision with the goal of preventing the occurrence of future harm. DFPS decided to adopt a version of the risk assessment originally developed for a child welfare population served by the California Department of Social Services. To test whether that version of the risk assessment will work as intended for DFPS, CRC conducted this preliminary risk fit study. The results of the study showed that the risk assessment will work as intended for the DFPS CPS population. A full risk validation study is recommended within three to five years of implementation.
NCCD's Children's Research Center assessed how well risk assessment tools are able to estimate future maltreatment, particularly across subgroups such as race/ethnicity and substantiation decision. Analysis results showed that the California Structured Decision Making® (SDM) risk assessment performs well, and can validly and accurately classify families according to maltreatment.
Appendix to the report titled "A Comparison of Risk Assessment Instruments in Juvenile Justice".
Since the 1970s, those working in the field of juvenile justice have sought ways to classify offenders by their likelihood of future delinquency—primarily through the use of actuarial risk assessments. As more such assessment instruments were developed and put into use, some juvenile justice practitioners and researchers began raising concerns about the classification and predictive validity of several of these risk assessments. In response to those concerns, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention funded NCCD to conduct a study of eight risk assessments in 10 jurisdictions across the United States. NCCD researchers, in consultation with an advisory board of juvenile justice researchers and developers of commercial juvenile justice risk assessment systems included in the study, compared the assessments’ predictive validity, reliability, equity, and costs.
This study was authored by NCCD's Director of Research in Madison, Dr. Jesse Russell, and Alicia Summers of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. The study highlights the potential for field interventions to influence practice in decision-making areas that are susceptible to implicit bias. A reflective decision-making training and tool were found to significantly alter decision-making at critical points in juvenile dependency cases. The findings support the idea that bias can be addressed and lessened through training and tools targeted at reflective decision-making.
In 2008, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services (BEAS) and the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD), with funding provided by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), collaborated to construct an actuarial risk assessment to classify BEAS clients by their likelihood of elder maltreatment and/or self-neglect in the future. Studies in adult and juvenile corrections and child welfare have demonstrated that active service intervention with high risk clients can reduce criminal recidivism and the recurrence of child maltreatment (Wagner, Hull, & Luttrell, 1995; Eisenberg & Markley, 1987; Baird, Heinz, & Bemus, 1981). The purpose of this research was to examine a large set of individual and referral characteristics, determine their relationship to subsequent elder self-neglect and/or maltreatment, and develop an actuarial risk assessment for BEAS workers to complete at the end of an investigation to inform their case decisions. BEAS and NCCD pursued development of an actuarial risk assessment with the goal of reducing subsequent maltreatment of elderly and vulnerable adults who have been involved in an incident of self-neglect or maltreatment by another person (i.e., abuse, exploitation, or neglect). The actuarial risk assessment described in this report provides BEAS workers with a method to more accurately identify high risk clients and therefore more effectively target service interventions in an effort to protect their most vulnerable clients.
An evaluation of the Avon Park Youth Academy and Street Smart Program (APYA/SS) program. The evaluation demonstrated that the program has the potential to join the modest but growing list of evidence-based practices in juvenile corrections. However, NCCD evaluators recommended that program modifications and further research may be needed for APYA/SS to fully achieve the status of an evidence-based practice.
In June of 2001 the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, in cooperation with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, convened a symposium to assess the current state of research, exchange information, and establish a tentative agenda for action regarding the quality of life and unmet needs of the API population in the United States. Scholars, activists, community-based and non-profit organizations, educators, law and policy experts, and foundations were all present for this conversation. This report includes many of the data and concepts presented and discusses recurring issues, such as the myth of the model minority, documenting the diversity of API communities, and historical issues which affect federal policies and legislation.
For the past thirty years, activists in the domestic violence movement have pushed the criminal justice system to actively respond to intimate partner violence. This study is an attempt to contribute to the growing body of knowledge about who is at most risk of committing future domestic violence once an incident has been recognized by the police. The work presented here is a result of collaboration among the Berkeley, California, Police Department, the East Bay Public Safety Corridor Partnership, and the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.