Portland, Ore. Pilots "Strengths-Based" Approach to Reduce Drug Abuse of Teens in Justice System

Developing strengths-based treatment to improve the juvenile justice system

Between 2000 and 2003, staff at Northwest Professional Consortium developed a strengths-based assessment tool — the Youth Competency Assessment — for use in the juvenile justice system and pilot tested it in three Oregon counties. They also developed and tested training materials for users of the tool.

A few innovative youth substance abuse treatment models incorporate strengths-based approaches, which focus on the gifts, positive attributes and capabilities of youth, families and communities rather than only on problems and risk factors.

Key Results

Project staff reported the results in a report, Strengths-Based Restorative Justice Assessment Tools for Youth: Addressing a Critical Gap in the Juvenile Justice System, posted on the NPC Research Web site.

  • The pilot-test counties — Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington — implemented and continue to use the Youth Competency Assessment, and it is under consideration in other juvenile justice departments throughout the country.

Funding

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) funded Northwest Professional Consortium to develop the Youth Competency Assessment with a grant of $398,332.