Assessment Center Framework

Assessment Center Model Guiding Principles

  • Community-based - We promote and advance engaging home, school, and community-based resources as the optimal method for providing support to youth and families as an alternative to child welfare and justice system involvement.
  • Inclusive – We promote and advance inclusive environments where ALL people can freely express who they are; can fully participate; and feel safe from abuse, harassment, or unfair criticism.
    We promote and advocate for the availability and access to a broad, flexible array of effective, community-based services and supports for youth and their families that address emotional, social, educational, and physical needs. We promote and advance for services that are responsive and inclusive to ALL.
  • Intentionally Equitable - We promote and advance policies and practices that emphasize transparency, education, and accountability regarding disproportionality and disparate treatment, and develop and implement appropriate remedies.
  • Continuous Staff Development & Support - We recognize that the work of assessment centers cannot take place without a fully equipped and supported workforce. We promote policies and practices hat feature thorough onboarding, training, and supervision to ensure competency, learning and professional development. Additionally, we support policies and practices that advance and sustain workforce effectiveness, resilience, and safety, including efforts that regularly acknowledge staff for their contributions and recognize and reinforce the importance of staff self-care.
  • Youth and Family as Partners – We promote and advance policies and practices that ensure youth, families, and youth-identified supports are full partners in all aspects of the planning and delivery of their own services and in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of organizational and programmatic operations.
  • Developmentally Appropriate & Strengths-based Approach – We promote and advance policies and practices that utilize a developmentally appropriate and strength-based approach to identify needs and supports of a youth and family.
  • Individualized - We promote and advance policies and practices that ensure resources and services provided to the youth and family are individualized and in accordance with their unique strengths and needs. Every young person is different: their development, resilience, supports, risk and protective factors, and how they experience events. Therefore, supports, services, and interventions must be tailored to the youth and family.
  • Research-based, Data-driven & Continuous Evaluation – We promote and advance policies and practices that are based on data and research about youth development and effective responses to improved outcomes for youth, communities, and families. These policies and practices ensure validated, evidence-based screening and assessment tools are used to fidelity by centers. Continuous evaluation and quality improvement mechanisms should be used to track, monitor, and manage the quality, effectiveness, and outcomes.
  • Collaborative – We promote and advance the collaborative nature of centers working with stakeholders to integrate best practices, reduce duplication of services, ensure access to effective supports, and, ultimately, prevent or divert from system involvement. These stakeholders include but are not limited to child welfare, juvenile justice, mental health, substance abuse, education, law enforcement and community-based organizations.