Assessing for Antisocial/Violent Potential and Clinical Risk Management in Elementary School-Aged Children: A Prevention and Intervention Assessment Framework

The importance of preventing and intervening in antisocial behavior and other forms of verbal and physical violence has been well established. We know from the scientific literature that certain childhood indicators of risk are strongly linked to subsequent antisocial behavior/violence that result in negative life course trajectories. How many times have we heard (after a tragedy) “we knew since elementary school he/she was a problem.” There is a need for reliable and valid screening/assessment devices that help assess level of risk/need amongst school-aged children and provide a mechanism for referrals, as well as, facilitate the establishment of effective clinical risk management. Addressing this gap in professional practice, researchers and practitioners at the Child Development Institute (CDI), were the first to develop a comprehensive psychosocial clinical risk assessment framework, specifically focused on young children engaged in antisocial and/or violent behavior, Early Assessment Risk Lists (EARL- Pre-Checklist/Screener; EARL-20B for boys and EARL-21G for girls). This workshop will provide an overview of SNAP’s (STOP NOW AND PLAN) comprehensive prevention/ intervention model which includes referral mechanisms, community protocols to connect children with appropriate services in a timely manner, structured gender-specific risk assessment tools (EARLs) and evidence-based program models. Children (middle years aged 6-11) are assessed at intake using the EARLs, which provide a comprehensive framework for evaluating risk factors known to influence a child’s propensity to engage in future antisocial behavior. The development of the EARL schemes was based on the following guiding principles: Children who experience serious behavioral concerns need help and can effectively be identified; severity of anti-social behavior must be measured to ensure responsive treatment plans/ interventions which can change a negative prognosis to a positive one; and most importantly, early interventions is essential for keeping these children in school and out of trouble. Currently, we are revising the EARLs to bring them to the next generation that will include a focus on strengths within a race and gender lens. During this workshop, an overview of the change process and the resulting new EARL assessments that includes an Eco-systemic Intervention Plan will be provided. This workshop is interactive and will involve assessing specific case examples.