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Report to the National Institute of Justice: The Proposed Iowa Juvenile Court Intake Risk Assessment

NCJ Number
Date Published
17 pages
The Iowa Division of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning (CJJP) received a mandate during the 1992 session of the Iowa General Assembly to identify and evaluate juvenile delinquency treatment programs, and the CJJP was also authorized to coordinate the development of a multiagency database to track the progress of juveniles through various State and local agencies and programs and to facilitate the sharing of case management information.
In working to comply with these mandates, CJJP and key players in Iowa's juvenile justice system identified an obstacle to statewide planning and evaluation of juvenile service delivery and program impact, a lack of common identifiers with which to uniformly classify juveniles at risk of recidivism. The CJJP worked with the courts to develop assessment criteria that could be used as a tool in selecting juvenile dispositions. In addition, a working group comprised of Iowa's eight Chief Juvenile Court Officers (JCOs) was established to assist in the strategic planning of the risk assessment project. This group explored a variety of issues, including the type of tool that would be the most useful to line staff, at what point in the system such a tool would be most useful, how to construct such a tool, and other related issues. The proposed juvenile risk assessment tool includes four demographic variables, six risk items, and a five-level scoring matrix. It is anticipated the tool will help JCOs appropriately assess the risk of recidivism and will help treatment staff and other relevant officials examine such issues as whether certain interventions work better with certain levels of risk than others, and whether limited resources are being appropriately utilized in interventions with juveniles who have specific risk scores. Appendixes contain the risk assessment test instrument, a risk assessment follow-up form, a juvenile court intake risk assessment form, and information on risk categories and recidivism. 5 tables

Date Published: January 1, 1997