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Message ID: 8947
Date: 2011-09-06

Author:Dr. Bruce G. Borkosky, Psy.D PA

Subject:Re: risk assessment tools

On Sun, Sep 4, 2011 at 10:26 AM, D F MCMAHON > wrote: I'm a bit curious as to the relationship of risk assessment to decisions regarding out of home placement in practice. In North Dakota, there is no separate Safety Assessment. Strictly speaking, it is not uncommon for the structured risk assessment tool to be completed after a child has been removed, although this varies quite a bit (how much it does vary is hard to tell, since--to begin with--no court or human services agency currently maintains data regarding "emergency" removals vs. removals subsequent to a court order (note that North Dakota does not use ex parte hearings to obtain removal orders and, complicating things, a removal may occur prior to a court hearing but still be recorded for federal reporting purposes as a "non-emergency" removal). --------Sheri, these are two separate issues, IMO 1. removals should be performed pursuant to an established, standard procedure. If they aren't, then the removals become capricious, and could be subject to a due process complaint. 2. risk assessment is not really appropriate for a removal question. Risk assessments should minimize errors - either false negatives or false positives. For a removal situation, that is equivalent to a screening question - you want to maximize sensitivity (finding real problems), and you are willing to remove a lot of kids unecessarily, in order to save more kids. 3. the question for risk assessment is 'risk of what'? what kinds of outcome measures are used in the instrument - future allegations, TPR?, completion of case plan? I recall that a San Diego grand jury studying the county's child welfare system heard testimony to the effect that it was easy for a worker to score the structured assessment (whatever that may have been) in order to support a decision the worker had already made. ------a true actuarial instrument does not use judgments/ratings. It uses facts, such as gender, age, number of children, etc. And, whether or not SDM is intended or designed to be used to make placement decisions, fidelity is not even just a matter of the caseworkers but prosecutors and judges (or their equivalent in proceedings) as well. It is highly unlikely that technical limitations consistent with scholarly research will be thought of, let alone considered or examined in any rigorous fashion. ------that's the purpose of a court appointed expert, to bring science into the mix, in order to hopefully, make better decisions As for actuarial studies, subsequent substantiation rates for groups deemed high risk raise the fact that prior involvement, period, makes later substantiation more likely and may well be included as a specific risk factor. --------yes, prior allegations ARE a risk factor, but only one. You are correct, if I understand you, that prior allegations could serve as a 'bad rep', thus skewing future judgment. However, prior allegations should serve as SOME level of risk - if a parent had 100 prior allegations, for example, it would be clear that something is going on.... Bruce Sheri McMahon North Dakota ________________________________ From: Susan.Mitchell-Herzfeld@ocfs.state.ny.us To: child-maltreatment-research-l@list.cornell.edu Date: Fri, 2 Sep 2011 16:11:47 -0400 Subject: RE: risk assessment tools Chris Baird, Dennis Wagner, Kristen Johnson and others from the Children’s Research Center at the National Council on Crime and Delinquency have written a number of articles on the development, reliability and validity of actuarial risk assessment instruments for Child Protective Services. I am providing references for two of them. Baird, S.C & Wagner, D. (2000). The Relative Validity of Actuarial- and Consensus-Based Risk Assessment Systems. Children and Youth Services Review, 22, 839-871. Baird, S.C , Wagner, D., Healy, T., & Johnson, K. (1999). Risk Assessment in Child Protective Services: Consensus and Actuarial Model Reliability. Child Welfare, 78, 723-748. From: bounce-37995432-14489073@list.cornell.edu [mailto:bounce-37995432-14489073@list.cornell.edu ] On Behalf Of Dr. Bruce G. Borkosky, Psy.D PA Sent: Friday, September 02, 2011 1:40 PM To: Child Maltreatment Researchers Subject: Re: risk assessment tools Hi, Crystalle, thank you for the link. I have seen several of these SDM-related risk assessment forms. I think I had found them in various SDM publications. Now I am looking for the details of their development. Was the risk assessment creation published in an article anywhere? Are there norms? sensitivity? specificity? Thanks, Bruce On Thu, Sep 1, 2011 at 5:07 PM, Williams, Crystalle > wrote: In North Carolina, we have a risk assessment and strengths & needs assessment that are used during the CPS Assessment. Here is a link to our forms page, and the risk assessment is form # 5230 and the strengths and needs is form #5229. http://info.dhhs.state.nc.us/olm/forms/forms.aspx?dc=dss . Please let me know if you have any questions. Crystalle Williams, MSW Program Consultant/ Trainer NC Division of Social Services 704-399-8160 Office 704-519-6519 Work Mobile crystalle.williams@dhhs.nc.gov ________________________________ From: bounce-37922734-9669498@list.cornell.edu [mailto:bounce-37922734-9669498@list.cornell.edu ] On Behalf Of katstar@fqstudio.net Sent: Thursday, August 18, 2011 2:41 PM To: child-maltreatment-research-l@list.cornell.edu Subject: risk assessment tools I am researching risk assessment tools used by child abuse investigators and would appreciate copies of or information on where I can locate the instruments used by other states. Thank You, Katherine Barillas, Ph.D. Policy Fellow One Voice Texas/ChildBuilders kbarillas@childbuilders.org Houston, Texas 713-480-3937 ________________________________ Email correspondence to and from this address is subject to the North Carolina Public Records Law and may be disclosed to third parties by an authorized State official. Unauthorized disclosure of juvenile, health, legally privileged, or otherwise confidential information, including confidential information relating to an ongoing State procurement effort, is prohibited by law. If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately and delete all records of this e-mail. -- Bruce G. Borkosky, Psy.D. PA 1800 Lakeview Drive Sebring, FL 33870 863-386-0276 304-8-Dr-Bruce (google voice) 800-919-9008 Fax 813-200-8450 Email DrBorkosky@Gmail.com This communication is confidential and privileged. If you are not the intended recipient, please communicate the error immediately, and delete all copies. ________________________________ This communication, together with any attachments hereto or links contained herein, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain information that is confidential, privileged, or legally protected, and as such is not a public document. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any review, disclosure, copying, dissemination, distribution or use of this communication is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. If you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender immediately by return e-mail message and delete the original and all copies of the communication, along with any attachments hereto or links herein, from your system. -- Bruce G. Borkosky, Psy.D. PA 1800 Lakeview Drive Sebring, FL 33870 863-386-0276 304-8-Dr-Bruce (google voice) 800-919-9008 Fax 813-200-8450 Email DrBorkosky@Gmail.com This communication is confidential and privileged. If you are not the intended recipient, please communicate the error immediately, and delete all copies.

On Sun, Sep 4, 2011 at 10:26 AM, D F MCMAHON > wrote: I'm a bit curious as to the relationship of risk assessment to decisions regarding out of home placement in practice. In North Dakota, there is no separate Safety Assessment. Strictly speaking, it is not uncommon for the structured risk assessment tool to be completed after a child has been removed, although this varies quite a bit (how much it does vary is hard to tell, since--to begin with--no court or human services agency currently maintains data regarding "emergency" removals vs. removals subsequent to a court order (note that North Dakota does not use ex parte hearings to obtain removal orders and, complicating things, a removal may occur prior to a court hearing but still be recorded for federal reporting purposes as a "non-emergency" removal). --------Sheri, these are two separate issues, IMO 1. removals should be performed pursuant to an established, standard procedure. If they aren't, then the removals become capricious, and could be subject to a due process complaint. 2. risk assessment is not really appropriate for a removal question. Risk assessments should minimize errors - either false negatives or false positives. For a removal situation, that is equivalent to a screening question - you want to maximize sensitivity (finding real problems), and you are willing to remove a lot of kids unecessarily, in order to save more kids. 3. the question for risk assessment is 'risk of what'? what kinds of outcome measures are used in the instrument - future allegations, TPR?, completion of case plan? I recall that a San Diego grand jury studying the county's child welfare system heard testimony to the effect that it was easy for a worker to score the structured assessment (whatever that may have been) in order to support a decision the worker had already made. ------a true actuarial instrument does not use judgments/ratings. It uses facts, such as gender, age, number of children, etc. And, whether or not SDM is intended or designed to be used to make placement decisions, fidelity is not even just a matter of the caseworkers but prosecutors and judges (or their equivalent in proceedings) as well. It is highly unlikely that technical limitations consistent with scholarly research will be thought of, let alone considered or examined in any rigorous fashion. ------that's the purpose of a court appointed expert, to bring science into the mix, in order to hopefully, make better decisions As for actuarial studies, subsequent substantiation rates for groups deemed high risk raise the fact that prior involvement, period, makes later substantiation more likely and may well be included as a specific risk factor. --------yes, prior allegations ARE a risk factor, but only one. You are correct, if I understand you, that prior allegations could serve as a 'bad rep', thus skewing future judgment. However, prior allegations should serve as SOME level of risk - if a parent had 100 prior allegations, for example, it would be clear that something is going on.... Bruce Sheri McMahon North Dakota ________________________________ From: Susan.Mitchell-Herzfeldocfs.state.ny.us To: child-maltreatment-research-llist.cornell.edu Date: Fri, 2 Sep 2011 16:11:47 -0400 Subject: RE: risk assessment tools Chris Baird, Dennis Wagner, Kristen Johnson and others from the Children’s Research Center at the National Council on Crime and Delinquency have written a number of articles on the development, reliability and validity of actuarial risk assessment instruments for Child Protective Services. I am providing references for two of them. Baird, S.C & Wagner, D. (2000). The Relative Validity of Actuarial- and Consensus-Based Risk Assessment Systems. Children and Youth Services Review, 22, 839-871. Baird, S.C , Wagner, D., Healy, T., & Johnson, K. (1999). Risk Assessment in Child Protective Services: Consensus and Actuarial Model Reliability. Child Welfare, 78, 723-748. From: bounce-37995432-14489073list.cornell.edu [mailto:bounce-37995432-14489073list.cornell.edu ] On Behalf Of Dr. Bruce G. Borkosky, Psy.D PA Sent: Friday, September 02, 2011 1:40 PM To: Child Maltreatment Researchers Subject: Re: risk assessment tools Hi, Crystalle, thank you for the link. I have seen several of these SDM-related risk assessment forms. I think I had found them in various SDM publications. Now I am looking for the details of their development. Was the risk assessment creation published in an article anywhere? Are there norms? sensitivity? specificity? Thanks, Bruce On Thu, Sep 1, 2011 at 5:07 PM, Williams, Crystalle > wrote: In North Carolina, we have a risk assessment and strengths & needs assessment that are used during the CPS Assessment. Here is a link to our forms page, and the risk assessment is form # 5230 and the strengths and needs is form #5229. http://info.dhhs.state.nc.us/olm/forms/forms.aspx?dc=dss . Please let me know if you have any questions. Crystalle Williams, MSW Program Consultant/ Trainer NC Division of Social Services 704-399-8160 Office 704-519-6519 Work Mobile crystalle.williamsdhhs.nc.gov ________________________________ From: bounce-37922734-9669498list.cornell.edu [mailto:bounce-37922734-9669498list.cornell.edu ] On Behalf Of katstarfqstudio.net Sent: Thursday, August 18, 2011 2:41 PM To: child-maltreatment-research-llist.cornell.edu Subject: risk assessment tools I am researching risk assessment tools used by child abuse investigators and would appreciate copies of or information on where I can locate the instruments used by other states. Thank You, Katherine Barillas, Ph.D. Policy Fellow One Voice Texas/ChildBuilders kbarillaschildbuilders.org Houston, Texas 713-480-3937 ________________________________ Email correspondence to and from this address is subject to the North Carolina Public Records Law and may be disclosed to third parties by an authorized State official. Unauthorized disclosure of juvenile, health, legally privileged, or otherwise confidential information, including confidential information relating to an ongoing State procurement effort, is prohibited by law. If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately and delete all records of this e-mail. -- Bruce G. Borkosky, Psy.D. PA 1800 Lakeview Drive Sebring, FL 33870 863-386-0276 304-8-Dr-Bruce (google voice) 800-919-9008 Fax 813-200-8450 Email DrBorkoskyGmail.com This communication is confidential and privileged. If you are not the intended recipient, please communicate the error immediately, and delete all copies. ________________________________ This communication, together with any attachments hereto or links contained herein, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain information that is confidential, privileged, or legally protected, and as such is not a public document. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any review, disclosure, copying, dissemination, distribution or use of this communication is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. If you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender immediately by return e-mail message and delete the original and all copies of the communication, along with any attachments hereto or links herein, from your system. -- Bruce G. Borkosky, Psy.D. PA 1800 Lakeview Drive Sebring, FL 33870 863-386-0276 304-8-Dr-Bruce (google voice) 800-919-9008 Fax 813-200-8450 Email DrBorkoskyGmail.com This communication is confidential and privileged. If you are not the intended recipient, please communicate the error immediately, and delete all copies.