Field Testing and Validating Risk Assessment Tools in Latin America and the Caribbean

Research Team

Project Overview

For the past several decades, many Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries have been facing increasing levels of youth involvement in crime and violence. This issue is a top priority for the region’s citizens and policymakers, with growing investment in youth violence prevention and reduction programming and research. Although considerable progress has been made to better understand youth risk and protective factors, research on evidence-based programming for tertiary risk youth in LAC—such as cognitive behavioral and/or other therapeutic approaches—is limited and validated risk needs assessments (RNA) tools are underutilized.

To this end, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded the Community Collaborative Action Research Model: A Capacity-Building Approach to Field Test and Validate Risk Assessment Tools in Latin America and the Caribbean. Led by the Crime and Justice Policy Lab, this 18-month activity (November 2022 – May 2024) is designed to generate new learning on the applied use of RNAs within innovative programming for court-involved youth in LAC. Over the life of the project, CJP seeks to achieve the following objectives:

  • Map risk-differentiated interventions in LAC with a particular focus on interventions implemented by governmental and non-governmental agencies that utilize models that have been studied and shown to be effective.
  • Pilot the implementation of RNA tools with two select two interventions—one based in Latin America and one in the Caribbean.
  • Provide ongoing technical and research support to the selected interventions throughout their implementation of RNAs.
  • Document the implementation, evidence-generation, and outcomes of the pilot through the development of two case studies.