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Moving Toward More Comprehensive Assessments American Humanes 2007 Conference on Differential Response Patricia Schene, Ph.D.

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Presentation on theme: "Moving Toward More Comprehensive Assessments American Humanes 2007 Conference on Differential Response Patricia Schene, Ph.D."— Presentation transcript:

1 Moving Toward More Comprehensive Assessments American Humanes 2007 Conference on Differential Response Patricia Schene, Ph.D.

2 Outline of Presentation Current limitations of assessment in CPS practice Importance of assessment in general and particularly in Differential Response Making assessments more comprehensive Assessment and engagement Responsiveness to assessment information; providing services and tracking outcomes

3 Limitations of Assessment Initial assessment (for those cases screened in) usually involves a form of risk and safety assessment In order to determine whether there will be continuing CPS involvement (only about 30% of cases) and whether to investigate or send to alternative response

4 Limitations of Assessment... In some CPS agencies, not all, when a case is opened for services, some additional assessment is undertaken in relation to developing a case plan The comprehensiveness of the assessments are normally limited to what is reported and found to be present during initial visit CFSRs indicate serious limitations in assessments -- not comprehensive enough

5 Importance of Assessments in DR It is difficult to develop adequate responses without a full understanding of what underlies the vulnerability of the child and what protective factors might be present in larger environment In Differential Response, normally an investigation is not done, but the child is at some level of risk and services are needed to both protect the child and to strengthen the parenting Without comprehensive assessment, a fully responsive service plan cannot be developed

6 Importance of Assessment in DR... Even if child is served on alternative track, our outcomes remain the same. To achieve outcomes, we need to be able to address the underlying risk factors and mobilize the protective factors; We do not want to miss the opportunity to make a difference in the family; this may be the main/ only time to intervene early enough to be effective CPS cannot refer child/family to appropriate community resources without full assessment

7 Making Assessments Comprehensive Address major factors that affect safety, permanency and child well being over time Identify and secure services that link assessed needs and outcomes Involve family in meaningful ways throughout casework process - including fathers Obtain specialized assessments-as needed for children

8 Making assessments comprehensive... Incorporate information from other assessments,collateral contacts, previous CPS involvement Identify strengths and protective factors Exchange info with family and courts and update periodically Consider familys cultural, ethnic factors in assessing strengths and needs

9 Making Assessments comprehensive... Assess familys motivation to change, social interactions, support networks, domestic violence, physical/mental health, alcohol and drug use, disabilities, etc. Reassess strengths/needs over life of case Identify patterns of behavior over time Gather continuing assessment information from community partners Tie assessment info to key case decisions

10 Assessment and Engagement Engagement of parents and other significant people is essential to build therapeutic relationships Key assessment information often only emerges over time if relationship exists Facilitating family and youth identification of their own needs and strengths and responding accordingly engages family in necessary change process

11 Responsiveness to assessment information Careful construction of interventions -- services and supports -- have to follow individualized assessments Mobilizing protective factors/strengths is essential to the change process- not enough to simply document strengths Identifying and individualizing barriers to achieving outcomes has to be done with the family

12 Responsiveness... Service plans should go beyond listing services and actually document what is expected to change in terms of assessment information with the services provided Engagement plans for mobilizing protective factors as well as involving others in extended family who have a stake in the protection of the child should be documented

13 Responsiveness... Plans for updating assessment information and adjusting service plans accordingly are an essential part of responsiveness Tracking progress against what was assessed in terms of risks, barriers to achieving outcomes, as well as progress in engagement,mobilizing protective factors, and achieving outcomes should be documented.

14 Conclusion Focusing on more comprehensive assessments leads practice in a more individualized direction as well as maximizing the opportunity to achieve outcomes DR really underscores the importance of engaging families in change process and understanding what will promote changes Assessment is cumulative and continuous.

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