PACT Full Assessment
Positive Achievment Change Tool Full Assessment
PACT Validation Dissertation Summary by Dr. Michael Baglivio
The PACT (Positive Achievement Change Tool) Full Assessment is a 126-item, multiple choice in-depth assessment instrument, which produces research-validated risk level scores measuring a juvenile's risk of re-offending. This tool is designed as a semi-structured interview protocol.
It was created collaboratively in 2005 by Assessments.com and the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. It is heavily adapted from the Washington State Juvenile Court Assessment, Back on Track! (also known as YASITM in some jurisdictions), which has been in use throughout the country since 1998.
The PACT identifies not only the areas (domains) in which the juvenile is most at risk, but just as importantly, those in which he or she has strengths (protective factors) which can be built upon to help turn the youth’s life around. Risk and protective factors in this instrument include both static and dynamic characteristics. The benefit of measuring both factors and characteristics is that a juvenile justice professional is better able to match a child's current needs with the appropriate programs and services.
This comprehensive assessment instrument measures a youth's risk and protective factors in the following 12 domains: Criminal History, School, Use of Free Time, Employment, Relationships, Family, Living Arrangements, Alcohol and Drugs, Mental Health, Attitudes/Behaviors, Aggression, and Skills. Assessment of criminogenic risk factors and treatment directed toward changing dynamic characteristics provides the best chance of reducing recidivism.
The PACT may be used by non-clinical staff in juvenile intake, diversion, probation, detention, group home placement, and aftercare settings. The instrument is administered in a client interview setting and requires approximately 45 minutes. As implemented in Florida, the PACT also interfaces seamlessly with an automated case-planning functionality. To be used effectively, the PACT needs to be administered by a person who has received at least two days of training on risk assessment theory, case planning and the technique of motivational interviewing.
As implemented in Florida, moderate-high and high-risk youth will receive the PACT Full-Screen Assessment. The full assessment is done by the Juvenile Probation Officer who will supervise the youth. This establishes a relationship between the youth and the JPO and provides a wealth of information to the professional recommending treatment and services for the youth. The full PACT provides information for a case plan specific to the youth's identified needs, including a recommendation for probation supervision, day treatment or residential commitment. Time freed up from administrative processing allows more interaction between the JPO and the youth on supervision.
The PACT provides a wealth of information on both the individual and aggregate levels. Reassessments and post-tests inform the JPO and other professionals of the youth's improvements on addressing criminogenic factors indicative of future criminality. The PACT system in Assessments.com provides reports by supervision unit, juvenile probation officers and circuits, serving as an effective management system. Not only does this implementation of the PACT inform policy makers about how effective their programs are in reducing crime and recidivism rates, it also provides reliable evidence upon which to judge whether a jurisdiction is truly and positively affecting the life of the child and his or her family.
Notes: by Robert Barnoski, Ph.D. / software developed by Allvest Information Services, Inc.