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Int J Forensic Ment Health. 2012;11(3):150-164. Epub 2012 Nov 6.

Pilot Implementation and Preliminary Evaluation of START:AV Assessments in Secure Juvenile Correctional Facilities.

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1
North Carolina State University, Psychology, Raleigh, NC United States.

Abstract

The Short-Term Assessment of Risk and Treatability: Adolescent Version (START:AV) is a new structured professional judgment guide for assessing short-term risks in adolescents. The scheme may be distinguished from other youth risk assessment and treatment planning instruments by its inclusion of 23 dynamic factors that are each rated for both vulnerability and strength. In addition, START:AV is also unique in that it focuses on multiple adverse outcomes-namely, violence, self-harm, suicide, unauthorized leave, substance abuse, self-neglect, victimization, and general offending-over the short-term (i.e., weeks to months) rather than long-term (i.e., years). This paper describes a pilot implementation and preliminary evaluation of START:AV in three secure juvenile correctional facilities in the southern United States. Specifically, we examined the descriptive characteristics and psychometric properties of START:AV assessments completed by 21 case managers on 291 adolescent offenders (250 boys and 41 girls) at the time of admission. Results provide preliminary support for the feasibility of completing START:AV assessments as part of routine practice. Findings also highlight differences in the characteristics of START:AV assessments for boys and girls and differential associations between the eight START:AV risk domains. Though results are promising, further research is needed to establish the reliability and validity of START:AV assessments completed in the field.

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