Improving the evidence base for services working with youth at-risk of involvement in the criminal justice system: developing a standardised program approach – 2018

Young people who engage in multiple risk behaviour (high-risk young people) such as substance abuse, antisocial behaviour, low engagement in education and employment, self-harm or suicide ideation are more likely to experience serious harms later in life including homelessness, incarceration, violence and premature death. In addition to personal disadvantage, these harms represent an avoidable social and economic cost to society. Despite these harms, there is insufficient evidence about how to improve outcomes for high-risk young people. A key reason for this is a lack of standardisation in the way in which programs provided by services are defined and evaluated.

This paper describes the development of a standardised intervention model for high-risk young people. The model can be used by service providers to achieve greater standardisation across their programs, outcomes and outcome measures. To demonstrate its feasibility, the model is applied to an existing program for high-risk young people.

The development and uptake of a standardised intervention model for these programs will help to more rapidly develop a larger and more rigorous evidence-base to improve outcomes for high-risk young people.

Alice Knight, Myfanwy Maple, Anthony Shakeshaft, Bernie Shakehsaft and Tania Pearce
Health & Justice 2018 6:8