UM SSW The Institute  

Screening & Assessment Instruments

Making good decisions requires good information. In child and family-serving systems, accurate assessment of risks, needs, and strengths is critical to guide decisions about service recommendations that will enable children and families reach their goals. When decisions are made in a team environment, information must be summarized and shared so that all participants are informed.

The Institute assists child- and family-serving agencies to implement standardized screening and assessment instruments that inform key decisions for serving youth and families. Implementing standardized tools involves several steps to ensure that they are effective:

  1. Selecting an appropriate evidence-based tool(s) based on the population and purpose;
  2. Revising existing policies and procedures to support the use of the instrument and ensure alignment with existing infrastructure and related practices;
  3. Providing staff with initial and in-service/booster trainings;
  4. Ongoing monitoring of instrument completion, recommendations, and use by staff; and,
  5. Evaluating the instrument's effectiveness with the target population and subpopulations (e.g., by gender, race, age), and revising scoring and decision matrices as needed.

Current Projects:

The Institute works collaboratively with agencies to accomplish one or all of these steps, depending on the agency's needs. Further, the Institute helps agencies to utilize assessment data for strategic planning and research purposes, to improve service provision for youth and families.