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Developing an Actuarial Risk Assessment for Adult Protective Services

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)
Original Solicitation

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2008, $309,000)

The National Council on Crime and Delinquency and its division, the Children's Research Center (henceforth referred to as NCCD) and the New Hampshire Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services (BEAS) Adult Protective Services (APS) plan to develop, implement, and evaluate an actuarial risk assessment. While actuarial risk assessment has not been used in APS, a number of child protection and corrections agencies have implemented simple, objective, and reliable actuarial risk assessment instruments to help workers prioritize clients for service intervention. These assessments help agency staff identify high risk clients at the close of an investigation and prioritize them for service intervention. Studies in both adult corrections and child welfare have demonstrated that active service intervention with high risk clients can reduce criminal recidivism and the recurrence of child maltreatment. Actuarial risk assessment may serve a similar objective for APS agencies and enhance their ability to reduce maltreatment of their most vulnerable clients.

The APS risk assessment will be developed by observing the case characteristics of a large, retrospective sample of adults investigated by New Hampshire APS for maltreatment and/or self-neglect. In phase one, a risk assessment study will be conducted to develop a simple, objective risk assessment procedure that can identify adults by their likelihood of subsequent maltreatment (e.g., within one year of the APS investigation). The risk assessment will then be implemented by New Hampshire APS and investigating workers will be trained to employ it to assess clients for preventive service interventions at the close of each APS investigation. In phase two, a process evaluation will be conducted to improve implementation fidelity and assess worker utilization. Phase three will evaluate the post-implementation utility of the risk assessment by conducting a prospective validation of its ability to estimate future maltreatment in an independent sample of APS investigations. A successful actuarial risk assessment for APS in New Hampshire can be adopted by other agencies and has the potential to improve case management of state or county APS agencies nationwide.

Date Created: September 16, 2008