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Caddo Parish Juvenile Services

Added Apr 30, 2009

1835 Spring Street
Shreveport, LA 71101

Phone (318) 226-6500

Fax (318) 226-6942
lgoodwin@caddo.org

Caddo Parish has been working to develop a model for screening and assessing youth to assist the
courts in determining alternatives to out-of-home placement. Previously, Caddo Parish did not have a
way to assess youth's needs prior to entering the court system, which led to many youths being
placed in juvenile facilities, rather than remaining in their homes and communities for needed
treatment.

Caddo Parish is focusing on evidence-based community services. Within this framework, local
partners are developing a standardized method of screening and assessment that utilizes an
effective, research-based methodology. Local partners include: the Caddo Parish Juvenile Judges,
Caddo Parish Juvenile Services, the District Attorney’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office, Louisiana
Office of Juvenile Justice, Louisiana Office of Mental Health, Louisiana Office for Citizens with
Developmental Disabilities, Louisiana Office for Addictive Disorders, Louisiana Office of Community
Services, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Caddo Parish Public Schools and
various private mental health professionals.


Goals and Strategies
In an effort to reduce the number of children placed in state custody, there are two primary goals for
the Caddo Parish Models for Change project. The initial goal is the development of a model post-adjudication screening and assessment process. An additional closely-related goal is to protect the
child from any self-incrimination that may result from the information generated through mental health
screening, assessment and treatment.


By accomplishing these goals, adjudicated children are more likely to receive individually and
developmentally appropriate dispositions, and are more likely to receive community-based programs
when appropriate. Further, the assessment process will be designed to safeguard youths from
additional punitive consequences as a result of screening and assessment.


Strategies used to realize these efforts include:

  • Developing a local group of juvenile justice stakeholders to guide the efforts of the project
  • Analyzing available parish data to determine the demographics of children who are placed in
    OJJ custody
  • Reviewing the existing screening and assessment process
  • Conducting an inventory of evidence-based community programming
  • Developing a revised screening and assessment process
  • Selecting evidence-based screening and assessment tools
  • Providing training for the use of an evidence-based assessment tool
  • Beginning a pilot implementation of an evidence-based assessment tool
  • Developing a template for pre-dispositional psychological evaluation reports
  • Defining how screening, assessment and treatment information will be used and shared in the
    court system
  • Developing a memorandum of understanding between agencies regarding the use of
    screening, assessment, and treatment information which will offer the child protection against
    self-incrimination

Other Reform Opportunities
Closely related to the Models for Change goals for Caddo Parish is a project funded by the Louisiana
Department of Health and Hospitals’ Office of Mental Health, to provide mental health screening,
crisis intervention and psycho-educational groups in the juvenile detention center. Provision of this
critical service has allowed for more individual and developmentally appropriate treatment of youth
who are detained, and also provides a pilot site to test the MfC screening and assessment process as it unfolds.


Additionally, Caddo Parish is also a participant site for the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative,
an effort to reduce unnecessary youth detention time and develop alternative sanctions that allow the
child to remain in the home and community. Through the development of a risk assessment
instrument, the average daily census of detained youth has been reduced from 50 to 32.


Site Leadership
For more information regarding the Models for Change Caddo Parish grant, contact the project
coordinator, Laura Goodwin at 318.226.6500, extension 267, or lgoodwin@caddo.org.

Reform areas: Evidence-based practices

States: Louisiana

Created Apr 30, 2009