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Youth Risk Assessment and Behavioral Health Screening Study


The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation are jointly funding the Law and Psychiatry Research Program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School to conduct the Risk Assessment and Behavioral Health Screening Study (RABS). RABS is studying how structured and comprehensive implementation of risk assessment, mental health screening, and substance abuse screening in juvenile probation departments in two states can impact case processing and reoffending. Both states selected the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth as their risk assessment tool, which they are implementing in conjunction with the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument-Version 2 and the CRAFFT substance use screening tool for dispositional planning.

This research builds on a series of research projects that the guidelines for successful implementation. The researchers followed up with a matched control group study in two states (Risk and Mental Health Screening and Assessment of Youth) around the application of these guidelines in juvenile probation agencies to inform decision making about youth processing. In the current project, researchers are focusing on facilitators and barriers to implementation of risk and needs assessment and behavioral health screening and the impact on dispositional and case planning. However, more importantly, this study will examine the interaction between mental health, serious substance use issues, and risk of reoffending factors on recidivism.

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Date Created: April 3, 2020