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Developing an Actuarial Risk Assessment to Inform Decisions Made by Adult Protective Services Workers

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2012
127 pages
This final report summarizes the results of research aimed at developing an actuarial risk assessment to inform decisions made by adult protective services workers.
The primary purpose of the research was to determine whether an actuarial risk assessment could be developed for use by adult protective services (APS) workers. The aim of the assessment would be to provide APS agencies and personnel with a simple, objective, and reliable instrument to help workers identify high-risk clients and prioritize them for service intervention at the close of an investigation. Similar assessments have been developed for and successfully used by child protection and corrections agencies. The research for this study involved three phases that are described in detail in this report: 1) construction of the actuarial risk assessment for APS workers using the results of a longitudinal study; 2) inter-rater reliability testing of the actuarial assessment for APS workers and a process evaluation to assess implementation fidelity; and 3) a prospective validation study of risk assessment to be conducted with a larger client sample and observation of maltreatment recurrence for a longer standardized follow-up period. The process evaluation showed that implementation fidelity and workers’ perceived utility of the actuarial tool varied by region. The validation study of the actuarial assessment indicated that the assessment validly classified individuals by the likelihood of future maltreatment, however additional research will be needed to improve the assessment’s predictive capabilities. Limitations of the study along with implications for practice and future research are discussed. Tables, figures, references, and appendixes

Date Published: September 1, 2012