Youth Assessment and Screening Instrument (YASI)

The Youth Assessment And Screening Instrument (YASI) measures a youth’s level of risk, needs, responsivity factors and strengths to guide early decision-making during the juvenile intake process. The YASI looks to identify both the dynamic (changeable) and static (unchangeable) risk factors of youth to assist professionals with determining risk to recidivate, manage caseloads and structure and target services to youth with higher needs.

The YASI is specifically designed for youth and includes research-based predictors of delinquent behavior and critical factors to promoting positive outcomes. The information collected during assessment guides the creation of a case plan tailored to each youth’s identified needs and strengths. The entire assessment and case planning process is informed by motivational interviewing strategies, and is designed to engage youth, provide them a sense of ownership over their case plan, and match supervision and intervention strategies with the youth’s levels of risk and motivation.

Use of the YASI is implemented in youth justice practice across WI and requires a series of training components. See the Training Details tab.

Child welfare professionals who are responsible for oversight of youth and families referred to the youth justice system are required to complete YASI training. The training sequence includes a 4-day training session delivered in two stages and 2 half-day Booster sessions. Staff must register for sessions in PDS Online. These training sessions are found in PDS Online under the titles listed below with detailed course descriptions.

YASI – Youth Assessment and Screening Instrument: Collaborative Case Works

  • Initial training that consists of 2 distinct parts scheduled on PDS Online as a 4-day package of live, virtual training
  • Collaborative Case Works 1 (first 2 days) focuses on learning the assessment tool
  • Collaborative Case Works 2 (second 2 days) focuses on case planning, writing goals, and action steps

YASI – Booster Part 1

  • 3-hour live, virtual session focused on reviewing scoring inconsistencies and the behavior analysis
  • Pre-Requisite: Completion of YASI Collaborative Case Works (YASI CCW 1 and 2)
  • Recommended to attend after using the assessment tool in practice to some degree
  • Can attend Booster 1 multiple times to reinforce use of the tool

YASI – Booster Part 2

  • 3-hour live, virtual session focused on case planning, including the feedback wheel, goals and action steps
  • Pre-Requisite: Completion of YASI Collaborative Case Works (YASI CCW 1 and 2) and Booster Part 1
  • Recommended to attend after using the assessment tool in case planning to some degree
  • Can attend Booster 2 multiple times to reinforce application to case planning

YASI – Supervisor Support Session

  • 3-hour virtual session focused on the process of supervising staff in YASI practices
  • Includes topics from staff engagement to using the YASI for various case work decisions
  • Supervisors who attend should have completed YASI Collaborative Case Works (YASI CCW 1 and 2)

Use of an assessment tool helps us be more targeted and effective

  • Research on the use of validated assessments in youth justice has grown significantly in the last decade. Assessment tools are often described as the foundation of evidence-based practice.
  • We do not want to intervene more or less than is necessary. A validated assessment tool helps us match youth with the most effective level and type of supervision and services.
  • Assessment tools assist jurisdictions with increasing the efficient use of resources, improving outcomes for youth and families, and increasing community safety.
  • Research shows that youth who are scored as low risk by a validated assessment and are diverted from the YJ system recidivate at lower rates than comparable youth whose cases are formally processed through the court system (Wilson & Hoge, 2012).

Use of an assessment tool informs and supports professional decision-making

  • A risk, needs, and strengths assessment tool informs and supports professional decision-making; it does not replace it.
  • Use of a tool should not create a lot of additional work. In the long run, it should reduce caseloads by screening out youth who will not benefit from intervention, and help professionals do their jobs more efficiently with youth and families who do benefit, by identifying areas to focus on to promote positive behavioral change.
  • Use of an assessment tool provides consistency across the state.
  • Use of a statewide tool standardizes data collection on youth referred to the YJ system and provides a common measure of the effectiveness of the interventions used.
  • Use of a statewide tool provides a common language across counties and stakeholder groups.

If you have any questions concerning YASI, please contact:
Lindsay Ebben
Wisconsin Child Welfare Professional Development System