Chris Scharenbroch has over 15 years’ experience turning system data into meaningful information. He works with child welfare, juvenile justice, adult corrections, education, and adult protection agencies to help them use data to improve their systems. Chris leads Evident Change's predictive analytics and risk assessment development, as well as cross-system projects with education, child protection and juvenile justice systems. His team creates analytics to support continuous quality improvement, illuminate decision making and service populations, and promote data-informed solutions to help achieve strategic goals.
Chris has a BS in sociology with a concentration in analysis and research from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Recent publications by Chris Scharenbroch:
Twenty-five years ago, decisions in child protection were made by social workers without the aid of standardized tools. These decisions were often based on workers’ perceptions of a family’s circumstances. Data were not always used or even collected, and agencies struggled to promote consistent and equitable decision making. Recognizing that
Most child welfare systems use some form of risk assessment to inform critical casework decisions. When validated and implemented well, risk assessments can help agencies identify families that may benefit most from services. When developed or used improperly, these tools can contribute to disproportionate and poor outcomes. How do we ensure that
My wife and I are raising three young boys. They are already fantastic negotiators and have an arsenal of tactics to use when interested in staying out longer, getting us to spend money, or asking for treats. Their current go-to argument is, “This isn’t fair.” They claim that our parenting tolerance and allowance should be applied equally among the
When I was a kid growing up in the Midwest I learned about four oceans: the Atlantic Ocean off the East Coast, the Pacific Ocean out by California, the Arctic Ocean in the frozen North, and the Indian Ocean on the other side of the world. This made sense because it helped orient me on a globe, but it also seemed a little suspicious: Where did one
A risk assessment is a data-based tool that classifies people into groups based on the likelihood of a specific outcome happening in the future (for example, being arrested for a crime). The kinds of information that often help construct a risk tool are things like prior system involvement, social attachments, peer relationships, and personal
Private investors often use feasibility assessments to help guide investment decisions. In the simplest sense, a feasibility assessment is an analysis of how successful a project can be. As private investors emerge in the world of social finance, through social innovation funding, they expect a similar type of analysis. For social programs, feasibility assessments are developed from a comprehensive understanding of the program and its impact.
Lots of different things can happen to a young person after he or she is arrested or referred to law enforcement. He may go home or he may be held in detention until court; his charges may be dropped or they may be formally processed; a judge may dismiss charges, order supervision, or sentence him to stay in a secure facility.
Since the 1970s, those working in the field of juvenile justice have sought ways to classify offenders by their likelihood of future delinquency—primarily through the use of actuarial risk assessments. As more such assessment instruments were developed and put into use, some juvenile justice practitioners and researchers began raising concerns about the classification and predictive validity of several of these risk assessments. In response to those concerns, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention funded NCCD to conduct a study of eight risk assessments in 10 jurisdictions across the United States. NCCD researchers, in consultation with an advisory board of juvenile justice researchers and developers of commercial juvenile justice risk assessment systems included in the study, compared the assessments’ predictive validity, reliability, equity, and costs.
In an effort to prevent children who are already involved with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (LA DCFS) from becoming involved with the Los Angeles County Probation Department, county managers sought to develop a structured, actuarial assessment to help identify which children served by LA DCFS were most likely to become delinquent. The managers intend to provide additional supports to children who are at high risk of future delinquency. For example, the county may provide wraparound services to meet the specific needs of these high risk children, in an effort to prevent them from becoming delinquent. This report describes the longitudinal study conducted to identify the risk factors for delinquency and construct a screening assessment that classifies children with an open child protective services case by the likelihood of future delinquency.