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| Chris Scharenbroch | Sierra Fischer | Cayley Farrell | Andrea Bogie, MSW | Erin Wicke Dankert

Growing knowledge about the limitations and potentially negative impact of using data-driven applications such as risk assessments has led research teams to create a more inclusive process for understanding the trade-offs in risk assessment implementation and validation. Evident Change and the New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth, and Families used a collaborative, stakeholder-informed approach to conduct a participatory risk validation of the Structured Decision Making® (SDM) risk assessment in early 2020. This approach borrows principles of human-centered design and action research to center attention on those who are most impacted, to seek action to improve practice, and to study the effect of a practice improvement. Including and trusting impacted individuals and communities has been shown to increase empathy, generate new ideas, and be necessary to promote equity in implementation science.

| Evident Change

In 2020, Evident Change and the New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) used a collaborative, stakeholder-informed approach to conduct a participatory risk validation of the Structured Decision Making® (SDM) risk assessment. 

This research brief shares highlights of participatory SDM® risk assessment validation process and a few key data considerations. A full report documents the entire research effort, study sample, research methods, and consensus-building process, while an accompanying case study shares more information on the collaborative process.

| Evident Change

In 2019, the New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) partnered with Evident Change to update their current suite of Structured Decision Making® (SDM) assessments. The goal of this study was to examine how the current risk assessment is performing across three SDM® principles of utility, accuracy, and equity. This risk validation study used a participatory approach, where a steering committee composed of agency leadership, agency supervisors, agency line staff, and staff from community partner agencies engaged in the process in partnership with DCYF and Evident Change. The steering committee was responsible for reviewing the validation analytics, vetting the analytics in relation to local practice, and ensuring that the resultant risk assessment was the most appropriate for use by DCYF staff with New Hampshire families.

| Evident Change

Researchers with Evident Change recently examined additional involvement with child welfare services after parents who completed Family Visit Coaching (FVC) services reunified with their children. The study, completed in the County of San Diego, California, found FVC to be effective at reducing substantiations after reunification.

| Evident Change

A new tool guides justice system agencies in creating a more well-rounded service array to meet the needs of the people they serve. Many individuals who have been impacted by the juvenile and/or criminal justice systems have unaddressed needs and traumas. These needs often lead them to—and keep them in—a cycle of justice system involvement. This guide was created to help agencies make strong community and cross‑system connections that will ultimately improve the way people are treated and served.

| Evident Change

As part of a study in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) area of Texas, Evident Change researchers created a list of resources available to the local community there. They provide services focused on mental health, substance use disorder, emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence, legal advocacy to victims and their families, and more. This resource is available to anyone in need of services or assistance. State and national resources are also included, so help is not limited to the RGV.

Using Administrative Data From APS: Opportunities and Considerations

| Evident Change

As more states improve their data systems, Adult Protective Services (APS) agencies are eager to examine administrative data to improve their work. This presentation will use non-technical language to review practical considerations related to organizing and analyzing APS administrative data. We will address approaches for handling erroneous and missing data, as well as defining metrics and comparing findings from multiple locations or programs. Reviewing these details can help practitioners generate more accurate conclusions and improve research quality in this important area. (Materials: slide presentation)

Presenter: Kenny Steinman has over 20 years' experience collaborating with community leaders and agency professionals to conduct rigorous, relevant research. He was a faculty member of the Ohio State University’s College of Public Health for 11 years and most recently has focused his scholarly work on health policy and its intersection with family violence. Steinman’s projects include an assessment of Ohio’s APS system, evaluating programs to prevent child maltreatment in families who struggle with substance use, and how state efforts to expand Medicaid have helped Ohio residents. 

| Evident Change

The Data for Equity program was created to help direct-service and other organizations build capacity for using data. Data for Equity can help agencies create internal cultures of accountability around equity, work toward sustainable reductions in racial and ethnic disparities, and rebuild systems in a way that supports equitable outcomes.

| Evident Change

During its 20-year history, the Team Decision Making® (TDM™) approach has proven to benefit children by decreasing the chance of repeat maltreatment and by increasing the rates of reunification and placement stability. A recent study from Child Trends is the first randomized controlled trial of the TDM approach and offers stronger evidence of its efficacy.

Child Adversities, Midlife Health, and Elder Abuse: Application of Cumulative Disadvantage Theory to Understand Late Life Victimization

| Evident Change

Elder abuse victimization is increasingly recognized as a pressing public health concern. However, few empirical studies have investigated whether childhood adversities and poor physical and psychological health in midlife heighten risks for abuse in late life. The webinar will review prior literature on the topic; describe the methodological approach within a new study by the presenters; highlight major findings; and discuss implications for clinical practice, treatment, and future research on elder abuse. (Materials: slide presentation)

Presenters:

Scott Easton, PhD, is associate professor, chair of the Mental Health Department, and co-director of the Trauma Integration Initiative at the Boston College School of Social Work. His primary program of research investigates long-term health outcomes of adults who experienced early life-course trauma such as child sexual abuse.

Jooyoung Kong, PhD, focuses her research on the effects that childhood adverse experiences have on later-life health and well-being. Guided by the life-course perspective, she is interested in identifying risk factors that prolong the negative impact of childhood adversity on physical, psychological, and social health in adulthood and identifying resilience factors that can mitigate these harmful effects.

Using Standardized Measures for Adult Protective Services Outcomes Assessment

| Evident Change

The webinar presenters will introduce the standardized measures used in the Elder Justice Innovation Grant: The Identification, Services, and Outcomes (ISO) Matrix. The assessment tool aims to capture adult protective services (APS) outcomes. The psychometric quality of the measures and measurement burden on APS staff will be discussed. In addition, analysis of extreme cases using the ISO Matrix will be presented to demonstrate how standardized measures can provide feedback to improve APS practice. 

Presenters:

Pi-Ju (Marian) Liu, PhD, is an assistant professor at Purdue School of Nursing and a faculty associate in the Center on Aging and the Life Course at Purdue University. She works with APS at the county, state, and national levels to conduct applied and translational research around elder justice issues, covering topics on elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

Kendon J. Conrad, PhD, is professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His interests are in long-term care, mental health, substance abuse, measurement, and evaluation research methodology. He and Dr. Madelyn Iris and others developed the Elder Abuse Decision Support System which, was further developed and field-tested in California as the ISO Matrix with Dr. Marian Liu.

Sara Stratton, LCSW, is an experienced APS supervisor. She has worked with San Francisco’s APS program for 20 years and has provided supervision and development of APS program components and policies and procedures. Stratton is part of the research team for the Administration for Community Living’s Elder Justice Innovation Grant to study outcomes for APS provided to at-risk adults.

| Deajah Nunn, Hayden Renato

Evident Change’s first youth advisors, Deajah Nunn and Hayden Renato, spent more than nine months with the organization, consulting on system-improvement projects across the country and leading several research projects. A set of seven recommendations to improve the child welfare and juvenile justice systems is one result of that research.