Section 3: Assessment
2 Hours

Lecture Topic TOPIC: ASSESSMENT

Collaboration and Information Sharing

When you consider the list of key assessment data points that we just discussed, it may seem a bit overwhelming. But think about the importance and significance of these pieces of data, and how difficult it would be to manage these youth effectively and provide the necessary services and interventions over time without this information! Thus, the more data that is obtained, the better equipped we are to make informed and appropriate decisions about these youth.

This is because multiple sources and types of data help to ensure that assessments are reliable and valid.11 Put simply, by collecting multiple types of assessment data from different sources, we are able to check, cross–check, validate, and verify the accuracy of our information. However, not all of this information is required by everyone at all times from an assessment and management perspective. Rather, the kind of assessment information needed depends in part upon your role in managing juvenile sex offenders, and the goal of the assessment.

Use SlideUse Slide #10: Goals Influence Data Needs

Some assessments are designed to inform clinical decisions—such as developing a treatment plan or measuring treatment progress. Others may be used to inform juvenile justice decisions—such as court dispositions, placement decisions, or supervision case plans. The nature and extent of the data required for these types of assessments may be unique or distinct in some instances, and may be overlapping in others.

For example, the amount and type of assessment data needed by a supervision officer during a routine office visit or when conducting a routine home visit differs in some ways from the kind of information the officer would need to develop a comprehensive case plan or supervision plan. And that kind of assessment data will be different from the kind of information needed by a theacher or school resource officer who is assessing the day–to–day behaviors of a youth in the school setting. This is also different from the level, type, and amount of information needed by a specialized evaluator to conduct a comprehensive psychosexual evaluation of a youth. And similarly, the nature and type of data needed to conduct a comprehensive psychosexual evaluation is different from the information needed to assess a juvenile’s progress in treatment. And all of this varies from the level or type of assessment data that a juvenile or family court judge needs when considering a disposition after adjudicating a youth.

Again, the type, purpose, and goals of assessment determine the nature and amount of information that needs to be collected and reviewed, as well as who will be involved in the assessment process. Some professionals involved in juvenile sex offender management will need to collect more assessment information, and some may need less. But regardless, good assessments often rely on information-sharing. This also highlights just how important collaboration is to the assessment processes.

Use SlideUse Slide #11: Collaboration is Vital

Since different professionals have different needs for assessment information and have access to different sources of assessment data, and because not everyone is qualified to use or conduct all of these types of assessments, sharing information and working together are very important.

Keep in mind, however, the juvenile confidentiality laws and privacy regulations within your state and within your respective agencies. And, as always, it is important that releases of information are signed by the appropriate parties when required. Developing interagency agreements and memoranda of understanding related to information–sharing may also be necessary.

Summary

Before we move into a discussion about some specific types of—and approaches to—assessments used in juvenile sex offender management, let’s summarize the key points that we have covered so far.

Use SlideUse Slide #12: Summary
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