U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Risk Assessment and Behavioral Health Screening (RABS) Project Final Technical Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2018
139 pages
The findings and methodology are presented for a pre-post, quasi-experimental study of the impact of implementing a valid risk-needs assessment, behavioral health screening, and risk-need-responsivity (RNR) approach to case management, which is intended to reduce risk and address behavioral health needs.
The name of this project is the Risk Assessment and Behavioral Health Screening (RABS). Juvenile justice agencies in Arkansas and Rhode Island were selected to participate based on a competitive application process. Four juvenile probation departments in Arkansas and all of juvenile probation in Rhode Island implemented a comprehensive screening/assessment and case management protocol, using the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth (SAVRY), the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument-Second Version (MAYSI-2), and the CRAFFT, a substance-use severity screening tool. Case-processing outcomes were tracked for both the pre-implementation and post-implementation groups from each youth's court petition date for three of the sites and youths' intake dates for Site 1, to the end of their disposition or the end of the study follow-up period, whichever came first. The follow-up period was a minimum of 6 months for both groups at each site, but could be up to 12 months. Results showed that the ostensible impact of implementing the protocol varied by site and depended on the point in the process at which the SAVRY was conducted. Implications for policy, practice, and future research are discussed. One promising conclusion is that it is possible to train probation officers in reliably rating risk-needs assessment instruments and in using risk-need-responsivity in their case planning when there is training and supervisory oversight. Also, conducting risk-needs assessments prior to disposition is critical. It is also critical that there be clear office policies regarding when tools are to be administered and with whom. Communities must also focus on developing services that match the variety of needs of delinquent youth. Extensive tabular data, 68 references, and appended methodological materials

Date Published: July 1, 2018