Clinical Approach & Applications

More than 20 years ago, the John Howard Society of Ottawa was the first nongovernmental organization to implement the Level of Service Inventory – Revised, a standardized assessment of static and dynamic risk for recidivism, as an anchor for action planning for change in our clients’ lives. Even as this tool became the most widely-used measure of its kind in the corrections field, we were learning of evolutions in assessment and casework.

In the summer of 2007, we transitioned to the Service Planning Instrument (SPIn) and the Youth Assessment and Screening Instrument (YASI) in the context of the Effective Case Work model. This model provides counsellors and caseworkers with a framework in which to accomplish comprehensive assessments of risk, need, protective and responsivity factors; to design case plans clearly connected to a client’s profile of risks and strengths; to promote interest and investment in addressing problems; to intervene in evidenced ways to effect change; and, to demonstrate incremental changes across a client’s life in support of their success in this community.

For more information about SPIn and YASI, and the CaseWorks software with which we work, follow these links:

This year United Way invited our involvement in its initiative to mobilize agencies’ resources for evaluation, the Community Impact Measurement and Management (CIMM) project. The agency’s Youth Justice Services volunteered two programs—the Non-Residential Attendance Centre and the transitional housing program for young men, A Different Street—for participation. Both staff and youth are completing measures of activity and impact during the period of this project to inform our understanding of youths’ experiences of these programs and the effects of these services in key areas of their lives.

Our work with Orbis Partners—the developers of the Effective Case Work model (including SPIn and YASI)—and our participation in the CIMM project are ongoing in furtherance of our commitment to evaluating our programs; to discovering the outcomes of our interventions; and, to responding to the expectations of clients, funders and the community that the work we are doing makes a difference.