An important role served by mental health professionals in the juvenile court system involves the provision of recommendations regarding the long-term placement of youthful offenders. However, research on the factors used by clinicians in making these decisions is scarce. The present study examines the use of demographic, historical, and clinical variables, as well as an actuarial risk assessment instrument, the Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory (YLS/CMI; Hoge & Andrews, 1994, 2002), in the courtordered placement recommendations of 220 juvenile offenders. Univariate analyses revealed strong relationships between factors common in the risk assessment literature and level of placement recommendation. In fact, youth recommended for out-of-home placements scored significantly higher on seven out of eight subscales of the YLS/CMI. Additionally, multivariate analyses found that the strongest predictors of placement recommendation were two YLS/CMI subscales (family circumstances/parenting and attitudes/orientation) and the presence of mood disorder. These findings suggest that clinical decisionmaking regarding placement recommendations incorporates the assessment of a hybrid of risk-related and treatment amenability issues. Implications of these results in regards to clinical decision-making and juvenile justice policy are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Phychiatric Mental Health
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Psychiatry and Mental health