A disposition matrix brings a greater degree of consistency, reliability, and equity to the assessment and decision-making process.
Disposition matrices help guide decisions, allow for more effective practice evaluation, and are powerful tools for helping systems achieve their goals.
Risk assessment instruments must be evaluated against certain criteria to ensure they function appropriately and that decision makers are likely to “get it right.”
Research has demonstrated that structured decisions lead to better outcomes than those based on worker judgment alone.
Risk assessment is a core practice to promote safer communities and more successful youth.
While the abstract concept of validity makes sense, actual testing for validity can be challenging. Because validity exists on a continuum, with degrees of less and more valid, we think of some tools as being more valid than others. This means that a test to determine which tools are most or least valid can be useful.
The August 2015 newsletter includes the announcement of Kathy Park as CEO, highlights national attention paid to NCCD's evaluation of Richmond, CA's Office of Neighborhood Safety, and introduces our blog series of what works in juvenile justice. *Note that the link opens slowly. Please be patient.
Because a primary function of detention screening instruments is to help ensure consistency and regularity in detention decisions, it is best practice for aggravating and mitigating factors to be part of scoring. Typically, aggravating and mitigating factors have low scores—often only one or two points each. These factors have the greatest impact for youth who are on the margin of a detention decision, helping to tip the scale one way or the other. This publication has examples of aggravating and mitigating factors sections from detention screening instruments.
While traditional risk assessments and detention screening instruments are both useful and important, they are developed differently and look at different information (with some overlap). They also have different goals and methods of validation.
Many detention screening instruments include a section on automatic or mandatory detentions. These items usually are considered separately from the other sections of the instrument. Mandatory detentions represent cases when the youth is detained regardless of the overall instrument score.
Detention screening instruments inform the decision of whether or not to admit a youth into secure care while he or she awaits an initial custody hearing. The most common structure is a set of scored factors that sum to a recommendation. Not all instruments are scored, but that is the best structure for helping to achieve consistency and regularity. Based on the final score, detention screening instruments make recommendations to release the youth, release with conditions, or hold the youth in secure care.
2015 Summer Webinar – A Week in the Life of Adult Protective Services
This webinar is conducted by Pamela B. Teaster, Ph.D., Virginia Tech Center for Gerontology. It presents a study that uses a public health model to examine allegations of elder abuse made to Kentucky Adult Protective Services (APS) and the investigations that followed in order to understand how APS addressed the needs of abused elders. Elder abuse allegations made to APS during the study week were collected using three study tools. Allegations and resulting investigations were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Results describe characteristics of the abuse calls, investigations, victims, perpetrators, and investigation times. The substantiation ratio, recidivism, and whether investigation increased or decreased the risk of abuse were also assessed. Examining APS casework through the lens of nested systems (ecological systems theory) has the potential to improve the outcomes of those served by APS and can be used as a model for APS programs across the country.