Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2010, $436,300)
OJJDP's Field Initiated Research and Evaluation (FIRE) Program funds research and evaluation that address how the juvenile justice system responds to juvenile delinquency. Research projects funded through this solicitation will seek answers to questions that will inform policy and suggest ways to enhance the juvenile justice system. As set forth in the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, as amended (Pub. L. No. 93-415, 42 U.S.C. § 5601 et seq.), OJJDP may conduct research or evaluation in juvenile justice matters, for the purpose of providing research and evaluation relating to control of juvenile delinquency and serious crime committed by juveniles; successful efforts to prevent first-time minor offenders from committing subsequent involvement in serious crime; successful efforts to prevent recidivism; and the juvenile justice system. This program is authorized pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3796ee et seq..
The proposed study will conduct evaluations of validity, reliability, equity, and cost of widely used juvenile justice risk and need assessment models. The study will address questions the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) has recently raised about validity and reliability of several models. These data will enable administrators to make informed decisions when choosing assessment systems, leading to more efficient use of agency resources, greater potential for youth rehabilitation, and enhanced community safety. Study design, materials used, and findings will be overseen by an Advisory Board of researchers, agency administrators, and representatives of firms that developed and marketed some of the systems being evaluated. The intent is to prepare a "juried" study to ensure that all perspectives are included. The study will be conducted over an 18-month timeframe, evaluating assessment systems in 7 sites, including state and county agencies that serve youth at different stages of juvenile justice. The study will include comparisons of inter-rater reliability, validity, and equity of these assessment models as well as an examination of costs associated with implementation. NCCD will submit quarterly progress reports to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) as well as a final project report.