Matching Services to Risk: One Size Doesn't Fit All

Ed Frickson, Ramsey Co. All Children Excel (ACE) Prg.
Trisha Beuhring, University of Minnesota

ABSTRACT
Child delinquents referred to ACE have widely varying needs that are reflected in their risk assessment score. Some children have committed only the referring offense, have good social and academic skills and few serious risk factors in their family, school or neighborhood context. Many of the children screened by ACE, however, have a history of prior police reports despite their young age. These children typically have volatile temperaments and are exposed to chronic and serious levels of risk in multiple domains. Matching children to services requires attention to both the overall level of risk, and attention to the specific nature of those risks. This presentation will review how ACE set guidelines for assigning children to interventions of different length, scope and intensity based on their risk assessment, and how the guidelines are adapted to fit the specific needs of different children and families. Preliminary outcome evaluation data will be reviewed that indicates the level of risk determined at screening predicts the likelihood of intervention success, in part because higher risk child delinquents require more time as well as a broader scope of services to achieve meaningful change.

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Updated 05/20/2006