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13th National Roundtable on CPS Risk Assessment: Using Actuarial Risk Assessment to Target Service Interventions in Pilot California Counties

| Dennis Wagner, PhD, Kristen Johnson, PhD

In 1998, the state of California contracted with the Children’s Research Center (CRC) to conduct a risk assessment study which observed 2,511 sample families substantiated for abuse or neglect during 1995. Risk assessment study findings derived from observation of these cases were employed to construct an actuarial instrument for identifying high risk families for service intervention and to assist agency administrators in planning future service delivery efforts.

SDM News

| Children's Research Center

Structured Decision Making News, Welcome to SDM News

Research-Based Risk Assessment: Adding Equity to Child Protective Services

| Chris Baird, Dr. Janice Ereth, PhD, Dennis Wagner, PhD

Over the last two decades, America's Child Protective Service (CPS) systems have seen the number of African American families on caseloads increase. In most jurisdictions, African Americans are more likely than Whites, Hispanics, or Asians to have allegations of maltreatment substantiated and to have children placed in out-of-home care. This trend is particularly disturbing when viewed in the context of the National Incidence Studies (NIS), which conclude that there are no differences in maltreatment rates for African Americans and Whites. If these studies are accurate, they raise serious questions about the disproportionate number of African American families in America's child protection system. Some have worried (or even concluded) that as more and more CPS agencies implement actuarial risk assessment systems, racial bias will be exacerbated. Rather than speculate about the potential impact of research-based systems on the over-representation of African Americans, CRC has reviewed data from agencies using actuarial risk assessments to determine if these systems have resulted in a greater level of disparity between African Americans and Whites. This paper answers questions about the relationships between risk, race, and recurrence of abuse and neglect. It presents the actual experiences of states using actuarial risk assessment and clarifies precisely how equity issues should be evaluated.

The Improvement of Child Protective Services with Structured Decision Making: The CRC Model

| Dr. Janice Ereth, PhD, Dennis Wagner, PhD, Chris Baird, Rod Caskey, Terry McHoskey, Raelene Freitag, Susan Gramling, Peter Quigley, Rick Wiebush, Deb Paulus

This booklet describes CRC's case management system designed to structure decisions at key points in serving families from the time of the CPS referral through ongoing case closure.

National Evaluation of Community Assessment Centers (CAC)

| National Council on Crime and Delinquency

This report presents the findings of the national evaluation of Community Assessment Centers (CAC) sponsored by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). The report was prepared by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) for the years 1997 through mid-year 1999. The evaluation covers four sites, two planning and two implementation/enhancement sites. The full report describes and assesses program implementation and preliminary outcomes and provides detailed site-specific reports.