Development of a State-Wide Risk and Protective Factor Assessment for Crime Prevention and Case Planning

Barbara J. Seljan
Juliette R. Mackin, Northwest Professional Consortium
Jerod M. Tarte

In response to the need for a uniform way of identifying youth at risk to offend, Oregon's county juvenile justice agencies participated in creating and testing an assessment tool for use with its juvenile crime prevention initiative. Youth with greater numbers of risk indicators are at greater risk of committing future offenses, and Oregon's strategy is to target resources to those youth in greatest need of services. The tool is used by juvenile departments and community agencies to assist in decision-making regarding the appropriate level of supervision and/or intervention for different youth. The assessment tool includes 20 risk indicators and 12 protective indicators in the following five domains: school issues, peer relationships, behavior issues, family functioning, and substance use. A 12-month follow-up sample of 1607 juvenile offenders demonstrated that reliability alpha for the 20 risk items was high (a = .83). Further, a logistic regression conducted in SPSS 10.0 suggested that the instrument had an 81% accuracy rate of appropriately classifying those youth who would re-offend. This paper will discuss the process of tool development and implementation, as well as the results from the validation and reliability testing.

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Updated 05/20/2006