Contact: Toya Pierce, LCSW, BACS, Director of Treatment
An assessment is a comprehensive appraisal of an individual’s functioning, used to make recommendations or determine youth’s progress. OJJ uses many types of assessment tools. The most typical are: Psychological Assessments and Risks Assessments
A psychological assessment is conducted by a qualified psychologist (licensed in the state of Louisiana and holding a Ph.D. in psychology) to determine a youth’s psychological functioning, treatment needs, and to make recommendations for placement or while in placement. When available, the Probation and Parole Officer should use the information from the psychological evaluation to generate the individual service plan. While in secure care the case manager will also use the psychological evaluation to generate the IIP (Individual Intervention Plan).
Adoption of the SAVRY Assessment Tool
(Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth)
After almost two years of careful study in partnership with the MacArthur Foundation and other stakeholders, OJJ adopted the SAVRY (Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth) as the tool used to assess all youth placed in our custody. The SAVRY protocol targets empirically-based risk and needs factors that, if appropriately treated, may reduce a youth’s risk for offending in the future. Individualized plans for the rehabilitation services for each OJJ youth, all of whom will eventually be returned to their home communities, should emerge from the SAVRY assessment results.
Progress in standardizing assessment has resulted from efforts on the part of both agency leaders and national experts. The statewide implementation plan for SAVRY has been fully carried out, including electronic connectivity with the case management system, all professional training, and policy alignment. OJJ will collect and analyze the data available to determine what changes are indicated for the continuum of care for our youth.
The anticipated result of the adoption and implementation of the SAVRY tool as our standard for risk assessment is movement of youth through available programming more effectively and efficiently. Rather than increasing the demand for secure care beds, for instance, some of the youth pending secure care may be re-assigned to more suitable placement, based upon their risk for violence and criminal behavior.
Juvenile justice stakeholders throughout the state, as well as the youth who come into contact with the justice system, will all benefit from quality implementation of the SAVRY and resulting treatment and rehabilitation planning. The SAVRY will soon become the new norm driving the agency’s individual treatment plans and placement decisions.
Progress on adoption of the SAVRY is expected to have a positive "ripple effect" on other performance indicators in future years.
Other Assessments/ Screening Tools routinely used include:
- Psychiatric Assessment
- Substance Abuse Assessment
- Psychosexual Assessment
- Monthly Assessment of Individualized Intervention Plan (IIP) Progress
- Needs Assessment
- Initial Classification and Reclassification
- Custody Assignment Screening Document
- Performance Evaluation Rating (PER)