Skip to main content



Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) List Serve

Browse or Search All Past CMRL Messages

Welcome to the database of past Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) list serve messages (10,000+). The table below contains all past CMRL messages (text only, no attachments) from Nov. 20, 1996 - June 11, 2018 and is updated quarterly.

Instructions: Postings are listed for browsing with the newest messages first. Click on the linked ID number to see a message. You can search the author, subject, message ID, and message content fields by entering your criteria into this search box:

Message ID: 8951
Date: 2011-09-06

Author:Kristen Johnson

Subject:RE: risk assessment tools

It is validating (:)) to see continued interest in accurate risk assessment. I wonder if you are interested in setting up web meetings similar to the risk roundtables that occurred in the 1990s, to help clarify misunderstandings, and better identify how research-based assessment tools and methods can help support practice improvement efforts. If you think such an effort would help the field, please let me know off-post and I’ll follow up if responses get into double digits. In response to the most recent post regarding placement decisions: use of a structured, valid and reliable safety assessment can help ensure the appropriateness of placement decisions. Actuarial risk assessment is not appropriate for determining whether or not a child should be placed to ensure his/her immediate safety. This post alluded to the importance of implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Use of a valid and reliable assessment is not sufficient to ensure good decisions, but it is an excellent tool with which to evaluate and help improve decision making. The newest articles since the last risk assessment post are: Johnson, W. (2011). The validity and utility of the California Family Risk Assessment under practice conditions in the field: A prospective study. Child Abuse & Neglect, 35, 18–28, and a forthcoming article about intake tool development and implementation – it is not about risk assessment, but speaks to the need for development, implementation and evaluation research if assessments are to reach their full potential. I will review other publications, below, but be forewarned these references have been posted before. Slides from a presentation on risk assessment in child welfare by Aron Shlonsky in July 2010 are available online at: http://www.uwcita.org/CITAv1008/trainingmaterials/Risk%20Assessment/Risk_FR_Shlonsky2.ppt.pdf The slides provide a good overview of the subject, including a clear explanation of the conceptual distinction between safety and risk. *Publications regarding risk assessment methods/development. CRC’s most recent CPS validation can be found here (for tool development see pages 28-30), http://www.nccd-crc.org/crc/crc/pdf/NC_risk_asst_validation_final2009_2.pdf Gottfredson, D. M., & Snyder, H. N. (2005). The mathematics of risk classification: Changing data into valid instruments for juvenile courts. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Programs. S.D. Gottfredson and G.R. Jarjoura, "Race, Gender, and Guidelines Decision Making," Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 33, no. 1 (1996):49–69. *On the issue of measuring tool performance/sensitivity and specificity. Shlonsky, A. & Wagner, D. (2005). The Next Step: Integrating Actuarial Risk Assessment and Clinical Judgment into an Evidence-Based Practice Framework in CPS Case Management. Children and Youth Services Review, 27(3), 409-427. Johnson, W. (2011). The validity and utility of the California Family Risk Assessment under practice conditions in the field: A prospective study. Child Abuse & Neglect, 35, 18–28 An appendix in this report reviews use of the DIFR statistic: http://www.nccd-crc.org/crc/crc/pubs/CA2007riskassessmentvalidation_rpt.pdf which may be of interest to you. *Lastly, for further review of the WSIPP report, see http://www.nccd-crc.org/crc/crc/pubs/wsippcommentary.pdf and for additional discussion of the CSSP report, see October 2010 posts to this listserve. For a brief discussion about how use of a valid and reliable risk assessment can be used to help improve practice, see the article on racial disparity in this issue: http://www.nccd-crc.org/crc/crc/pubs/sdmnewsissue25.pdf . Have a good week, Kristen Kristen Johnson, Ph.D. The Children's Research Center, The National Council on Crime & Delinquency 426 S. Yellowstone Dr. Suite 250 Madison Wisconsin 53719 Ph: (608) 831-1180 Fx: (608) 831-6446 kjohnson@nccdcrc.org www.nccd-crc.org Please do not send any identifying or confidential information (such as names, birthdates, social security numbers) via e-mail. It is possible for third parties to intercept information transmitted in an e-mail. Identification numbers (such as case or referral numbers) may be included where necessary. Intercepting persons cannot use these numbers to identify a client unless they have access to the host application or database.

It is validating (:)) to see continued interest in accurate risk assessment. I wonder if you are interested in setting up web meetings similar to the risk roundtables that occurred in the 1990s, to help clarify misunderstandings, and better identify how research-based assessment tools and methods can help support practice improvement efforts. If you think such an effort would help the field, please let me know off-post and I’ll follow up if responses get into double digits. In response to the most recent post regarding placement decisions: use of a structured, valid and reliable safety assessment can help ensure the appropriateness of placement decisions. Actuarial risk assessment is not appropriate for determining whether or not a child should be placed to ensure his/her immediate safety. This post alluded to the importance of implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Use of a valid and reliable assessment is not sufficient to ensure good decisions, but it is an excellent tool with which to evaluate and help improve decision making. The newest articles since the last risk assessment post are: Johnson, W. (2011). The validity and utility of the California Family Risk Assessment under practice conditions in the field: A prospective study. Child Abuse & Neglect, 35, 18–28, and a forthcoming article about intake tool development and implementation – it is not about risk assessment, but speaks to the need for development, implementation and evaluation research if assessments are to reach their full potential. I will review other publications, below, but be forewarned these references have been posted before. Slides from a presentation on risk assessment in child welfare by Aron Shlonsky in July 2010 are available online at: http://www.uwcita.org/CITAv1008/trainingmaterials/Risk%20Assessment/Risk_FR_Shlonsky2.ppt.pdf The slides provide a good overview of the subject, including a clear explanation of the conceptual distinction between safety and risk. *Publications regarding risk assessment methods/development. CRC’s most recent CPS validation can be found here (for tool development see pages 28-30), http://www.nccd-crc.org/crc/crc/pdf/NC_risk_asst_validation_final2009_2.pdf Gottfredson, D. M., & Snyder, H. N. (2005). The mathematics of risk classification: Changing data into valid instruments for juvenile courts. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Programs. S.D. Gottfredson and G.R. Jarjoura, "Race, Gender, and Guidelines Decision Making," Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 33, no. 1 (1996):49–69. *On the issue of measuring tool performance/sensitivity and specificity. Shlonsky, A. & Wagner, D. (2005). The Next Step: Integrating Actuarial Risk Assessment and Clinical Judgment into an Evidence-Based Practice Framework in CPS Case Management. Children and Youth Services Review, 27(3), 409-427. Johnson, W. (2011). The validity and utility of the California Family Risk Assessment under practice conditions in the field: A prospective study. Child Abuse & Neglect, 35, 18–28 An appendix in this report reviews use of the DIFR statistic: http://www.nccd-crc.org/crc/crc/pubs/CA2007riskassessmentvalidation_rpt.pdf which may be of interest to you. *Lastly, for further review of the WSIPP report, see http://www.nccd-crc.org/crc/crc/pubs/wsippcommentary.pdf and for additional discussion of the CSSP report, see October 2010 posts to this listserve. For a brief discussion about how use of a valid and reliable risk assessment can be used to help improve practice, see the article on racial disparity in this issue: http://www.nccd-crc.org/crc/crc/pubs/sdmnewsissue25.pdf . Have a good week, Kristen Kristen Johnson, Ph.D. The Children's Research Center, The National Council on Crime & Delinquency 426 S. Yellowstone Dr. Suite 250 Madison Wisconsin 53719 Ph: (608) 831-1180 Fx: (608) 831-6446 kjohnsonnccdcrc.org www.nccd-crc.org Please do not send any identifying or confidential information (such as names, birthdates, social security numbers) via e-mail. It is possible for third parties to intercept information transmitted in an e-mail. Identification numbers (such as case or referral numbers) may be included where necessary. Intercepting persons cannot use these numbers to identify a client unless they have access to the host application or database.