When Readiness is a Luxury: Co-Designing a Risk Assessment and Quality Assurance Process with Violence Prevention Frontline Workers in Seattle

Friday 1:00 – 2:15 Breakout B5

Presentor: Sarah C. Walker

Sarah Cusworth Walker, University of Washington; Asia Sarah Bishop, University of Washington; Mariko Lockhart, City of Seattle, Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative



The Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative (SYVPI) is a complex community initiative involving multiple independent service providers. The initiative values community empowerment while seeking to address risk reduction and asset building with evidence-based approaches. This is a delicate balance most clearly evidenced in the approach SYVPI adopted to develop a risk assessment tool. Initiative staff ultimately decided that a locally-developed tool was needed to respond to 1) the specific informational needs of SYVPI staff; and 2) to promote buy in for implementation. Facilitated by University of Washington staff, an SYVPI workgroup oversaw the development of this tool using research-informed items and anchors to derive violence risk classifications while adjusting item wording and format to appeal to staff and youth. This process occurred while simultaneously co-designing a quality assurance infrastructure. By engaging in a co-design process, the workgroup team developed a research-informed product while also enhancing engagement. The tool is now being evaluated as a valid predictor of violence with the intended youth population. This project illustrates the feasibility and benefits of a co-design process as an alternative to implementing previously developed products in new settings, particularly when readiness for empirically supported products is complicated by contextual factors.

Implementation Potential of Structured Recidivism Risk Assessments with Justice-Involved Veterans: Qualitative Perspectives from Providers

Friday 1:00 – 2:15 Breakout B5

Presentor: Allison L. Rodriguez, B.A.

Allison L. Rodriguez, National Center for PTSD, Department of Veterans Affairs,  Palo Alto Health Care System; Luisa Manfredi, J.D.,M.P.H., HSR&D Center for Innovation to Implementation, Department of Veterans Affairs, Palo Alto Health Care System; Andrea Nevedal, Ph.D., HSR&D Center for Innovation to Implementation, Department of Veterans Affairs, Palo Alto Health Care System; Joel Rosenthal, Ph.D., National Training  Director, VHA Veterans Justice Programs; Daniel M. Blonigen, Ph.D., HSR&D Center for Innovation to Implementation, Department of Veterans Affairs, Palo Alto Health Care System


Utilization of structured tools to evaluate risk for recidivism in justice-involved individuals is central to the Risk-Need-Responsivity model (Andrews et al. 1990) of offender rehabilitation. The Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA) Veterans Justice Programs (VJP) Specialists serve as first-line responders to Justice-Involved Veterans (JIVs) in the reentry process, and aim to link JIVs with appropriate VA and community services in order to reduce recidivism risk in this population. Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with 63 randomly selected VJP Specialists representing each of the 21 Veterans Integrated Service Networks in the VHA, and standard qualitative content coding and pile sorting were used to identify major themes in the data. Analyses revealed that few sites use structured risk assessments to measure level of risk for recidivism. However, many Specialists indicated that such a tool would be highly valuable for case management purposes. Informal methods used by Specialists to measure level of risk for recidivism in this population are reviewed, and facilitators and barriers to possible implementation of structured risk assessments within VHA are discussed. Findings support the need for systematic efforts in VHA to implement use of structured risk assessments with JIVs.


Developing Empirically-Informed Readiness Measures for Providers and Agencies for the  Family Check-Up Model Using a Mixed Methods Approach

Friday 1:00 – 2:15 Breakout B5

Presentor: Anne M. Mauricio

AnneM. Mauricio, Arizona State University REACH Institute; Thomas D. Dishion, Arizona State University REACH Institute; Jenna Rudo-Stern, Arizona State University REACH Institute;  Justin D. Smith, Baylor University Department of Psychology & Neuroscience



The Family Check-up (FCU) is a brief, family-centered intervention model that tailors sessions to each family’s needs and stage of change. The FCU reduces child problem behavior and substance use and improves child and parent mental health (e.g., Dishion, Brennan et al, 2014; Shaw, Dishion et al, 2006; Smith, Stormshak et al, 2014). Optimizing scale-up required assessment-based planning to resolve implementation barriers, which included selection of early adopting providers (Fixen et al, 200). Phase one of this study examined the validity of the FCU Provider Readiness Assessment (PRA), developed based on literature linking provider attributes with implementation success (Chaudoir et al., 2013). We administered the PRA during the implementation exploration phase (Novins et al., 2013) to approximately 40 providers across three agencies using the FCU; we examined associations between readiness scores and direct observations of provider fidelity (Smith, Dishion et al, 2013). The second phase included focus groups with FCU providers to refine the PRA and understand provider perspectives concerning the professional and agency capacities needed to implement the FCU in real world settings. Focus group data will also inform training and consultation adaptations to increase provider acceptability of the FCU and to develop an FCU agency readiness measure.