2013. Vol.4, No.7, 553-558
Published Online July 2013 in SciRes (http://www.scirp.org/journal/psych) http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/psych.2013.47079
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 553
Sacramento Assessment Center: A Comprehensive
Multi-Perspective Model for Effective Assessment of
Paul Jenkins, Mark Conroy, Andrew Mendonsa
National University, San Diego, USA
Received April 23rd, 2013; revised May 26th, 2013; accepted June 24th, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Paul Jenkins et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons At-
tribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the
original work is properly cited.
The Sacramento Assessment Center is a residential-based assessment service utilized by the Juvenile Jus-
tice system in Sacramento County, California. This service utilizes a multi-dimensional approach to as-
sessment, looking closely at ten different areas of functioning, including psychological, psychiatric, crimi-
nological, substance use, educational, occupational, recreational, social attachment, medical, and place-
ment adjustment. The paper describes both the rational for and the process of this assessment, exploring
the personnel and tools required to produce this level of service to adjudicated youth. The general conclu-
sion is that an extensive, multi-dimensional assessment is an important service to render, in order to iden-
tify criminological needs, specify appropriate placement and services, and thus make the most efficient
use of limited resources available to serve this population and lower recidivism rates.
Keywords: Adolescent; Assessment; Delinquency; Assessment Center; Juvenile Justice
In the mid nineteen-nineties, the annual number of delin-
quency caseloads peaked at nearly two million new cases a year.
While that number has dropped significantly over the last
twenty years, it still hovers around one and a half million cases
a year (Puzzanchera, Adams, & Hockenberry, 2012; Snyder,
1999, 2003, 2005). Many of these youth will receive psycho-
logical screenings or assessments at some contact point in the
system, but the screenings and even fuller assessments are often
superficial and fail to examine critical areas of functioning,
such as family, education, personality dynamics, and other key
areas (Grisso, Vincent, & Seagrave, 2005). In a day and age of
tight budgets, and given the ongoing large number of youth
involved in the juvenile justice system, such brief, superficial
screenings may be understandable, but a much more thorough,
multi-disciplinary assessment has a higher potential to correctly
identify the needs and challenges of juvenile offenders and thus
save the juvenile justice system revenue in the long run by en-
suring that youth are accurately placed and benefit from the
most appropriate services that are likely to meet their most
critical needs and thus reduce recidivism (Petteruti, Walsh, &
This article presents a model of a residential, in-custody as-
sessment process for juvenile offenders. The model includes a
rationale for such a program based on societal needs, and dis-
cusses the limitations of current practice, as well as best-prac-
tice considerations. The specific service project that is based on
the model is described. The Sacramento Assessment Center is a
collaborative approach, joining group home facilities, probation
personnel, and a full range of assessment professionals from
relevant disciplines with the mutual goal of gaining a thorough
understanding of the placement and treatment needs of adjudi-
The Need for Assessment
The problem of juvenile delinquency has plagued societies
for a long time (Heilbru, Goldstei, & Redding, 2005), and
currently presents with significant urgency as the scope and
seriousness of youth crime remains a serious societal problem
(Puzzanchera et al., 2012). Because of the strain that ongoing
arrests and adjudications place on the juvenile justice system,
now and in the future, identifying effective, cost-saving inter-
ventions is crucial (Petteruti et al., 2009; Sherman, Gottfredson,
MacKenzie, Eck, Reuter, & Bushway, 1997).
One of the emerging interventions showing great promise,
and the subject of the present article, is in the area of pre-
placement assessment as a tool for the juvenile courts and
probation staff to identify key risk factors and strengths, as well
as specific placement and treatment needs (Latessa, 2005).
There is a growing body of evidence supporting not only the
general efficacy of a thorough assessment in clinical practice
(Meyer et al., 2001), but more specifically the importance of
accurately identifying the range and severity of risk factors
across multiple domains of behavioral and psychological func-
tioning that are known to contribute to juvenile recidivism and
to repeated adjudication as a result of placement failures
(Grisso et al., 2005; Hammond, 2007; Latessa, 2005; Shephard,
P. JENKINS ET AL.
Roberts (2004) has shown that among juvenile delinquents
who require out-of-home placement following a crime, those
who are provided with living situations and treatments that are
specific to their needs, are significantly less likely to reoffend,
supporting the idea that there is a strong need for pre-placement
assessment (Latessa, 2005; Vincent, 2011).
Comprehensive Multi-Perspective Assessments
Many existing approaches aimed at reducing recidivism in
juvenile offenders tend to treat each offender with the same
model (Wasserman, Jensen, Ko, Cocozza, & Trupin, 2003). In
other words, a somewhat common approach used by many Pro-
bati on Departments to address juvenile crime is a “one-size-fits-
all” response model. Juveniles are arrested, taken to juvenile
hall, booked or released, adjudicated, and then often sent home
with minimal aftercare that is mainly limited to increasingly
overworked field supervision, and Court orders to complete
family or individual counseling, anger management, or sub-
stance abuse treatment. This approach is costly, not case spe-
cific, and has proven rather ineffective in stopping the return of
the offender to the system (Towse, 2000). Because the ap-
proach only temporarily fixes a portion of the problem, the
systemic causes of why the juvenile is committing crimes are
not addressed and thus the juvenile will typically return to the
same environment that fostered the antisocial behavior without
the tools necessary to avoid further legal problems (Dembo,
1999; Snyder, 2000; Towse, 2000).
Preliminary research in the area of juvenile offender assess-
ments suggests that the concept of a comprehensive pre-place-
ment assessment is considered a “best practice” (Dembo, 1998;
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 2002;
Vincent, 2011). However, according to a preliminary literature
review (Mendonsa, 2006), there are only a relatively small
number of studies that actually examine the utility of compre-
hensive, multi-dimensional assessment program, suggesting
that this area is relatively under-researched.
A more recent review of literature, in preparing this article
found that little has changed. While there are a lot of brief
screening tools available (Massachusetts Youth Screening In-
strument), and some test instruments that are longer and are
sometimes referred to as “assessments” but really are not (Child
and Adolescent Needs and Strengths), there are very few pro-
grams across the country that engage in a thorough, multi-fac-
eted, bio-psycho-social assessment of adjudicated youth. Not
one could be found which included temporary residential place-
ment as part of a specialized assessment process. It appears that
there is little research in this area, at least partly because there
are so few programs that engage in a truly thorough assessment
According to Heilbrun, Goldstein, and Redding (2005), deci-
sions and treatment plans for juvenile offenders are dictated too
often by judicial standing orders or standard protocol without
considering other vital information about the juvenile’s abilities,
deficits, strengths, and overall functioning. Quick decisions
made based on the findings of screenings do not adequately
address the true range of risk factors and needs of the youth in
question. If these were properly identified and addressed, early
in the adjudication process, it could reduce the likelihood that a
juvenile will return to the justice system (Cocozza & Skowyra,
2007; Hammond, 2007). Given the potential benefit of early
identification of risk factors and subsequent well-targeted
placement and treatment decisions, it is critical to determine the
effectiveness of current assessment mode ls.
Over the past 15 years, public probation, mental health pro-
viders, and community-based organizations have combined
efforts to create centers capable of providing assessment across
major areas identified as critical to understanding the treatment
needs of offending youths. Currently, these centers only exist in
a few jurisdictions nationwide and many are operated by public
safety departments and tend to be one-dimensional. Although
limited, they represent a step forward from the historical norm.
One such example is Florida, where the assessment center as-
sesses juveniles as part of the standard juvenile booking process.
See Codozza and Skowyra (2007) for a list and descriptions of
enhanced service programs for adjudicated youth in various
parts of the country.
The Sacramento Assessment Center Program
With the establishment of the Sacramento Assessment Center,
a very ambitious multi-disciplinary assessment model was cre-
ated. It was designed by and based on the experience of three
probation mental health consultants who recognized that juve-
nile offenders are multifaceted and all too often present with
problems across functioning areas.
Recognizing this, the Sacramento Assessment Center was
mod eled after the Yale University Child St udy Cent er ( YUC SC)
whose mission is to understand children’s mental health prob-
lems, and prevent or alleviate the symptoms of patients who
suffer from them. YUCSC established that this requires under-
standing child development and its underpinnings, as well as
the many contexts in which development unfolds. YUCSC
brought together a faculty with extraordinary breadth of re-
search and clinical interests, including internationally recog-
nized experts from child psychiatry, pediatrics, psychology,
genetics, neurobiology, epidemiology, nursing, education, so-
cial work, and social policy. Other major psychiatric institutes
across the country, such as the University of California at San
Francisco’s Langley-Porter Institute have followed the lead
established by Yale University.
The Sacramento Assessment Center was designed with this
multidisciplinary model in mind and established itself as a
unique response to the need for pre-placement assessment of
adjudicated youth. It serves many of Sacramento County Juve-
nile Probation placement Wards of the Court. It is operated as a
non-profit organization and is funded primarily through the
mental health Medicaid program.
The Sacramento Assessment Center was designed to provide
a ten-area formal assessment, conducted by a multi-disciplinary
assessment team that includes the assigned Probation Officer,
clinical psychologist, child psychiatrist, educational psycholo-
gist, family specialist, substance abuse specialist, pediatrician,
occupational and recreational specialist, and a social worker.
This team is led by the Assessment Director and conducts its
work according to a standardized assessment protocol. The
assessment includes multiple clinical interviews, a standardized
battery of tests in the different assessment areas, a family home
visit and interview, a careful review of all available background
information, and whenever possible, observation of the client’s
behavior and functioning on the housing unit.
Each professional completes their specific assessment duties,
culminating in a written report that is presented orally in an
assessment team meeting to determine specific recommended
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
P. JENKINS ET AL.
services and a general treatment plan for each adolescent. The
results are documented in a full assessment report with a single
page evaluati on summary.
Each of the ten areas will be discussed along with the roles of
In order to assess criminogenic risk, the clinical psychologist
comple tes an evaluation to determine the severity of criminality,
recidivism risk, and types of intervention needed. The criminal-
ity section of the assessment specifically addresses known risk
factors for ongoing delinquency, such as the criminal history of
the youth and his or her family, characterological issues, other
mental health problems, abuse and neglect issues, trauma his-
tory, substance abuse, attachment and peer relations, gang as-
sociation, and others. The assessment utilizes an interview of
the client, the results from a standardized battery of tests, an
actuarial risk assessment, and a review of background informa-
Naturally, possible gang affiliation is a particular concern in
the context of criminality assessment. The psychologist tries to
determine the presence or absence of gang affiliation, and if
present, the level of involvement and the client’s willingness
and ability to discontinue gang affiliation. Input from the Pro-
bation Officer and social worker on the housing unit are parti-
cularly important in assisting the psychologist in this matter and
represents one of the strengths of the “team” approach to
assessment. It is all too easy for individuals conducting an
assessment in isolation to have incomplete information about
gang affiliation and rely too heavily on either their own
assumptions or the self-report of their clients, who are often
motivated to not disclose their gang affiliation during an
The tests used to assess criminality include the Jesness In-
ventory—Revised, the Millon Adolescent Clinical Inventory,
the Adolescent Relationship Scales Questionnaire, the Youth
Self Report, and the Wisconsin Delinquency Risk Assessment
Scale. The instruments provide information that helps deter-
mine how open the client is to admitting to misbehavior, un-
derlying personality factors to delinquency, actuarial risk to
reoffend, co-morbid emotional or psychological problems, pos-
sible attachment issues, and likely effective interventions to
lower the risk of re-offence.
In order to assess psychological functioning, the clinical
psychologist completes an evaluation to determine psycho-
diagnostic, behavioral, and dynamic factors that impact both
diagnoses and overall functioning, as well as possible effective
interventions. In order to determine the adolescent’s psycho-
logical strengths, weaknesses, and treatment needs, the clinical
psychologist reviews all available background information,
conducts a semi-structured clinical interview, and reviews re-
sults from a standardized battery of tests.
The tests utilized as part of this area of assessment include
the Millon Adolescent Individual Inventory, the House-Tree-
Person drawing test, the Kinetic Family Drawing Test, the In-
complete Sentences Blank, and the Youth Self Report. Other
tests (such as the Rorschach) can be utilized on a case-by-case
basis. In addition, test results from other areas of assessment
can be used to help reach conclusions about issues in the psy-
Many of the youth who are involved in delinquent behavior
have co-morbid mental health disorders. Hence, when conduct-
ing comprehensive assessments of delinquent youth, it is im-
portant to identify psychiatric conditions and potential corre-
sponding psychopharmacologic interventions. Establishing a
psychodiagnostic work-up helps guide treatment and placement
recommendations for the minor. A child psychiatrist conducts a
clinical interview with the adolescent and reviews background
information. When needed, the child psychiatrist provides edu-
cation to the juvenile and his or her legal guardian regarding the
potential risks and benefits of medication. Having a psychiatrist
evaluate the adolescent also provides another medical profess-
sional to identify possible medical problems, and offers an op-
portunity for the clinical psychologist and child psychiatrist to
confer on issues of diagnosis and treatment and placement
The family assessment is completed by a licensed mental
health professional who is at least at a Master’s Degree level
who is charged with assessing the overall functionality and
dynamics of the client’s family and the feasibility of the youth
returning home. Often, the probation officer or the Court has
identified potential family members or others who have identi-
fied themselves as potential caregivers. The family evaluator
investigates these potential placement options and also gathers
vital information about the minor’s behavior in the home, out in
the community, and at school. The family assessment also sup-
plements the team’s knowledge of the client’s developmental
history and the caregiver’s view of the problem. Since the other
evaluators cannot always interview the parent or caregiver as
part of his or her assessment, the team places a high value on
information gathered by the family evaluator.
Substance U s e
The co-morbidity of substance use with conduct and other
disruptive behavior disorders is very high (Cocozza & Skowyra,
2007; NCASA, 2004). Since disruptive behavior disorders and
substance abuse are so prominent in this population, a compre-
hensive assessment of substance use is called for. In fact, this
area should be assessed by other professionals on the assess-
ment team as well. That way, the team members can share in-
formation, compare multiple client reports, and thus reach more
accurate conclusions regarding the presence or absence of sub-
stance abuse issues.
In the substance abuse assessment, the evaluator carefully
determines what substances the adolescent has used, age of
onset, duration and frequency of use, and whether the client’s
use meets criteria for a DSM diagnosis of abuse or dependency.
The evaluator also assesses, if the client has a problem, his or
her motivation and readiness for treatment. The evaluator
should also explore psychosocial and other factors that effect
prognosis and the choice for most effective treatment modality.
There is a strong and consistent relationship between the pre-
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P. JENKINS ET AL.
sence of previously undiagnosed and untreated health problems
and a background of child neglect and subsequent delinquency,
especially more serious delinquency (Druss & Walker, 2011;
Penner, 1982). Many adolescents with mental health diagnoses
also have co- morbi d chronic physical conditions (Combs- Orme,
Heflinger, & Simpkins, 2002; Druss & Walker, 2011).
A common problem is psychosomatic complaints, particu-
larly in those youth with anxiety and depression. These children
sometimes have complaints that lead to an emergency room
evaluation causing loss of staff time and potentially misdiagno-
The consequences of chronic physical conditions may in-
clude, 1) limitations in the adolescent’s ability to perform ac-
tivities that peers the same age can perform, 2) need for pre-
scription medications and frequent medical monitoring, 3) need
for special therapies, and 4) the need for more medical, mental
health, or educational services than is usual for most peers the
Within the context of a comprehensive, multi-perspective
assessment, a pediatrician evaluates each child with a standard
physical. The pediatrician brings a medical perspective to pos-
sible etiology for a child’s somatic, as well as emotional and
behavioral problems. The medical assessment is also used to
determine if and what kind of follow-up care is needed by the
adolescent while in placement.
A licensed educational psychologist or supervised credential
school psychologist is part of the assessment team. The educa-
tional assessment helps determine the overall levels of cogni-
tive ability and achievement, and what services are already in
place or need to be in place in order for the adolescent to suc-
ceed academically. In order to do so, it is important to identify
previously undiagnosed learning disabilities, if present, or other
qualifications for special education services. Equally important
is to identify strengths in the area of education that do not re-
quire remediation. The educational assessment gathers informa-
tion and testing data in order to be able to recommend the most
appropriate academic placement and goals. In addition, in cases
where there are few educational problems present, documenting
such strengths can also be helpful in developing a comprehen-
sive treatment plan.
Depending on the known history of special education ser-
vices, an existing Individual Educational Plan (IEP), school
performance records, and recent classroom performance and
behavior, a variety of standardized instruments may be em-
ployed by the educational psychologist. A screening that gives
a quick snapshot of ability and needs may also be used if there
is no evidence of a learning ability and achievement is strong.
However, when adequate records are not available and the cli-
ent does not seem to be doing well academically, a full educa-
tional battery should be used.
Attachment is an important issue that impacts both psycho-
logical and social functioning and risk for further criminal be-
havior (Hoeve, Stams, Put, Dubas, Laan, & Gerris, 2012). The
ability to form and maintain healthy relationships with caretak-
ers, authority figures, family, and peers is very important to
overall healthy functioning and resistance to the temptations of
an antisocial lifestyle. In order to assess this area, the clinical
psychologist completes an evaluation to determine an attach-
ment “style”, explore dynamic factors that impact both the
identified “style” as well as overall social functioning, and de-
scribe possible effective interventions.
Within this assessment area, clinical interviews and stan-
dardized tests help the psychologist determine the type and
overall quality of attachment the youth currently has with peers,
adults, and society. If the adolescent has a secure attachment,
this is identified as a critical protective factor. If, on the other
hand, he or she has developed an insecure attachment style
(preoccupied, fearful, dismissing, or disorganized attachment)
this places the youth at higher risk to engage in activities that
are harming to themselves, others, and society.
The clinical interview can be unstructured or semi-structured.
In regard to more structured interviewing, the Adult Attach-
ment Interview (AAI; Main & Goldwyn, 1998) can be adjusted
for use with adolescents. Some examples of this include the
Attachment Interview for Childhood and Adolescence (Am-
maniti, Candelori, Dazzi, De Coro, Muscetta, Urtu, Pola, Sper-
anza, Tambelli, & Zampino 1990), the Child Attachment Inter-
view (Shmueli-Goetz, Target, Fonagy, & Datta 2008), and the
Adolescent Attachment Interview, which was adapted from the
Family Attachment Interview (Bartholomew & Horowitz,
1991). It is typically expected that professionals using these
interviews complete training designed to help them complete
and code the interviews accurately. There are also a few object-
tive, self-report, rating scale type tests to assess attachment.
One example is the Adolescent Relationship Scales Question-
naire, which was adapted from the Relationship Scales Ques-
tionnaire (Griffin & Bartholomew, 1994). An assessment pro-
fessional can also use information from other psychological
tests, such as the Millon Adolescent Mulitaxial Inventory or the
Thematic Apperception Test to help develop an attachment pro-
file. Overall, there are a number of questions and issues related
to the assessment of attachment, especially with adolescents,
that require more space for discussion than are available in this
artic le (Crittenden, Claussen, & Kozlowska, 2007; Grisso et al .,
2005; Nader, 2008).
Maintaining a job and being competitive in today’s job mar-
ket requires that a person have basic workforce skills. Although
not every youth needs specific job skills development or inter-
vention in this area, general occupational skills and interests are
certainly linked to future success as an adult who can be self-
supporting through legal means. In this assessment area, a so-
cial worker evaluates what types of job skills the client has and
what work activities the adolescent has been exposed to. Basic
skills such as those developed doing baby-sitting, lawn care,
and vehicle cleaning are recognized as positive contributors to a
youth’s preparation for future employment.
The social worker also evaluates the adolescent’s occupa-
tional interests, and how these translate to his or her overall
preparation and readiness for the work force, as well as identi-
fying the best direction for job training or advanced education.
Attitudes toward authorities, a sense of entitlement, and unreal-
istic dreams of being in the NBA or NFL, for example, are
potential barriers that need to be resolved. If the adolescent has
little or no occupational exposure, the final recommendation
includes the need to link the youth to further occupational test-
ing, training, and placement in order to initiate job experience.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
P. JENKINS ET AL.
It should be noted that his area of assessment is completed only
with clients who are age appropriate (16 and up). At present,
SATC utilizes the Los Rios Occupational Survey as the primary
source of information for this area of the assessment.
Although often thought of as simply leisure activity that has
little to do with success in life, delinquency, recidivism, mental
health, or pro social adjustment, recreation actually impacts all
these areas and is thus an important area to assess. Common
sense suggests that adolescents are typically engaged in one of
two types of recreation. The first is prosocial recreation. This
type of recreation includes organized sports, volunteering, and
social interaction with pro social peers. The second type, anti-
social recreation, is often noted in adolescents who are mem-
bers of gangs and have inadequately internalized the rules, ex-
pectations, and values of mainstream society. This type of rec-
reation, including gambling, fighting, “gangsta” rapping, and
using drugs and alcohol can actually reinforce antisocial atti-
tudes and behavior. Regular engagement in these activities and
also alienate youth from pro social peers, as well as potentially
positive adult influences.
In this area of assessment, a social worker administers testing
that reveals the types of recreation that the youth will likely
engage in, such as mainly risk versus non-risk, group oriented
versus individual recreation. Helping the youth identify recrea-
tional activities within the profile can help youth maintain a
course of development reinforces pro social attitudes and be-
havior. At present, SATC utilizes the Leisure Diagnostic Bat-
tery as the primary source of information for this area of the
While the adolescent is undergoing the assessment process,
they reside in a level 12 (moderately high level) group home.
While the adolescents are there, they are assigned a social
worker, who works with them from entry to discharge. The
social worker is part of the assessment team, and brings vital
information about the day-to-day functioning of the minor
while living in the group home. Behaviors in the classroom and
in the residential unit (with staff as well as peers) are vital
pieces of information that can give the assessment team not
only an idea of how the adolescent may behave in future group
home placements, but can be used to further verify, disconfirm,
or corroborate other assessment results. This important insight
is one determining factor in deciding the most appropriate level
of and services offered by the group home the minor will be
placed in following assessment.
Evaluating clients from multiple perspectives provides com-
prehensive clinical data that can strengthen diagnostic accuracy
and contribute to much better informed treatment plans that will
likely prove beneficial for the client’s adjustment, both in
placement and in the community. Within the overall scope of
the comprehensive ten-area assessment model, the mental and
physical health, educational, family, attachment, substance
abuse, and occupational and recreational needs of the juvenile
are carefully evaluated, as are the level and type of clinical and
criminogenic interventions needed.
In practice, this broad approach to assessment yields a more
objective, thorough, and useful overall view of the offender,
which requires that individual evaluators and probation staff
collaborate directly to come to key decisions regarding place-
ment and treatment. Our experience with the probation staff is
that they are familiar with some of the basic needs and chal-
lenges of delinquent youth and of the available treatment and
placement options in their geographic area, but lack the depth
of information to identify the best fit in matching placement
interventions with treatment needs. Many probation officers
who have worked with the Sacramento Assessment Center have
noted how helpful having a comprehensive assessment is in
doing their job of client placement.
The information from the full assessment report is not only
useful to the assigned deputy probation officer, but also the
family, the youth, and to the placement and treatment facility
staff who will be implementing treatment. In fact, the assess-
ment report often leads to a much faster initiation of treatment
planning and thus to shorter placements (Mendonsa, 2007).
Another benefit of a thorough assessment that has been noted
includes better adjustment of clients to a treatment-oriented
placement. Repeated clinical interviewing helps prepare adju-
dicated youth to being in a group home where they are required
to participate in individual and group counseling. This likely
has a meaningful effect on increasing the success rate of these
clients in placement and thus lower recidivism rates.
There are limitations to this assessment approach, however.
The main one is cost. Not only is it expensive to utilize a vari-
ety of specialized professionals to conduct an assessment, the
cost of running a level 12 groups home facility can be prohibi-
tive. Mitigating this concern is the fact that most of the youths
at SAC would be housed at the local Juvenile Hall awaiting
placement anyway, so to some extent, Probation Officers can
view the SAC group home facility as a temporary alternative
placement. Most of the costs of assessment are covered by
MediCal funding, which requires that all youths obtaining as-
sessments must qualify for, and be signed up for MediCal ser-
vices. This requires additional staff to manage the process and
paperwork. Next, it does take a great deal of leadership and
organized effort to start and maintain this rigorous and program.
It is no small feat to open a group home for adjudicated youth
and manage the work of various professionals, many of whom
will be independent contractors, rather than on-site staff. Fi-
nally, a residential assessment program has to be ‘sold’ to local
Juvenile Court and Probation leaders who must be willing to
refer youth to the service, participate in the assessment process,
and act on the findings. One way to mitigate these challenges is
to develop an in-custody assessment program. The youths
would be assessed while retained at a local Juvenile Hall or
even at home or another group home. SAC occasionally con-
ducts assessments under these conditions. It is not optimal; you
lose a lot of useful information when you don’t have the resi-
dential component, and thus extensive observation of the
youth’s interactions with peers and adults, but it is still prefer-
able to the brief screenings that are more typical in most juris-
So far, the results of the outcomes of the Sacramento As-
sessment Center are encouraging and provide much needed
evidence for the benefit and utility of this comprehensive multi-
perspective assessment model (Mendonsa, 2008; Wilcox, 2003).
The demand for empirically based practices is growing and the
current study adds additional support to the contention that the
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 557
P. JENKINS ET AL.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
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