Youth participate in a comprehensive, individualized, strengths based, culturally responsive assessment
Note: Refer to the Assessment Matrix
for assessment criteria
. The elements of the matrix can be tailored according to the needs of specific individuals or service design.
Information gathered for assessments is comprehensive, directed at concerns identified in initial screenings, and pertinent for providing requested services.
Assessments are completed within timeframes established by the agency.
Assessments are strengths based, conducted in a culturally responsive manner, and identify resources that can increase service participation and success for youth from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.
Culturally responsive assessments can include attention to geographic location, language of choice, and the person’s religious, racial, ethnic, and cultural background. Other important factors that contribute to a responsive assessment include attention to age, sexual orientation, and developmental level.
Standardized assessment tools are used, and youth perspectives are obtained, to:
- identify strengths, needs, and protective factors;
- assess for the presence of factors associated with poor outcomes; and
- provide information for ongoing evaluation of progress.
Interpretation: The assessment should include availability and use of informal supports. The assessment of a youth's development should consider his or her strengths, challenges, functional status, and social competence. Informed clinical opinion can be used when standardized measures do not fully reflect a child’s developmental status.
Although specific desired outcomes will be individualized, a comparable degree of “success,” or expectation for number and kind of positive outcomes, should be comparable for all youth irrespective of differences in background and prior experience.
While a variety of tools used to determine pre- and post- program
adjustment are to be found in youth development, mental health, and child welfare literature, systematic skills assessment has been identified as having multiple benefits including helping programs meet the 1999 Foster Care Independence Act requirements. One study of factors associated with community
adjustment of young adults with serious emotional disturbance noted that studies are limited when measures omit strengths and the youth’s perception of aspiration or a desired outcome.