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What Works for Whom? Juvenile Court Assessment Tool and Program Eligibility

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Lauren Knoth-Peterson, Colin Gibson, Nathan Adams - June 2022

In 2022, Washington State Juvenile Courts will transition to a new risk-needs-responsivity assessment, the Juvenile Court Assessment Tool (JCAT). Replacing the former PACT assessment, the JCAT will be used to facilitate case management for court-involved youth, including referrals to state-funded evidence-based programs (EBPs). Following completion of the JCAT in 2020, the 2021 Washington State Legislature directed the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) to review the JCAT to assess potential eligibility under the JCAT that would appropriately assign youth to programs that meet their needs.

This study uses administrative data from the juvenile courts to examine what characteristics of youth are associated with significant reductions in recidivism following referral to and participation in state-funded EBPs. We examine recidivism outcomes for male and female youth who previously were eligible for and participated in the six state-funded EBPs to assess what risk scores, needs scores, and specific youth characteristics correlated with reductions in recidivism following participation in an EBP intervention.

The findings indicate that some youth characteristics identified on the JCAT are associated with significant reductions in recidivism following EBP participation, but these factors vary across sex and type of EBP. While not prescribing new eligibility criteria, the findings will assist the juvenile courts as they develop and refine eligibility for state-funded EBPs under the JCAT.

Report ID: 22-06-1902
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Nathan Adams
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