Date of Award

1-1-2009

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Cashel,Mary Louise

Abstract

Approximately 30% of adolescents in the United States have engaged in delinquent acts. Juvenile delinquency is related to the development of Conduct Disorder and other mental health disorders including: Substance Abuse, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Depression and Anxiety. Within the juvenile court system, mental health assessments are utilized in order to identify the complex treatment needs of juvenile offenders; however, implementation of the report recommendations is challenging. This project explored the implementation and adherence of psychological recommendations completed in the Second Judicial Circuit Redeploy Illinois program, a juvenile diversion program. Effectiveness of the psychological assessments conducted in the Redeploy program at reducing commitment to the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice was evaluated. A process evaluation examined the sample of youth who completed assessments, determined who received reports, and evaluated recommendation adherence, barriers to treatment, and perceived effectiveness of recommendations. Information was collected via reviews of archival data and surveys distributed to legal guardians, probation officers, judges and administrators. An outcome evaluation was completed to determine whether Recommendation Adherence and Program Completion predicted reduced days in detention or commitment to IDJJ within six months following the psychological assessment. Age, ratings of parent and child relationships, and intellectual ability were explored as individual predictors of days in detention and sentencing to IDJJ. Results of the process evaluation indicated that juvenile offenders completing psychological assessments within the Redeploy Illinois program were similar to the national profile of juvenile offenders. Psychological reports were distributed to probation officers, judges and administrators appropriately; however, legal guardians received reports less frequently and indicated that reports were less effective than other stakeholders. Nevertheless, the psychological assessments were successful at completing the intended goals of the Redeploy program. Adherence to recommended interventions was very low for all youth. Barriers to recommendation adherence included lack of social support, unavailable services and feelings that recommendations were inappropriate. Recommendation adherence did not significantly predict the number of days in detention, nor commitments to IDJJ, but successful program completion was a significant predictor. Interpretations of these findings and recommendations were provided to help improve psychological assessments within the Second Judicial Circuit Redeploy Program.

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