Adopting the Assessment Center Model

The below phases outline the full spectrum of support the NAC offers communities adopting the assessment center model. Collectively, these phases span a timeframe of about 2 years. NAC staff will conduct an initial consultation with communities to determine which of the phases and steps would be most beneficial to their community. Communities may select one or more of the below phases to engage the NAC in technical assistance.

Planning Phase – 6 - 8 months

I. Preparation – This step is expected to take one – two months. NAC staff and consultants will assist by working with the local coordinator/lead to ensure they are equipped with information and resources to carry out the below steps. This assistance would likely occur through one or two of the virtual supportive sessions.
a. Identify local project coordinator/lead for communications and logistics planning
b. Identify members of the local Assessment Center Planning Team c. Provide preparatory reading/planning materials (this may not be applicable)

d. Schedule first on-site meeting

II. Kick-off - This step is expected to take two days in the form of an on-site visit. One day serving as the kick-off meeting and the other day (before or after) as a prep or debrief with key staff. NAC staff and consultants will work with the local coordinator/lead to facilitate the kick-off meeting and reach consensus on next steps.

a. Kick-off meeting with Assessment Center Planning Team to explain the process, establish consensus on expectations, and celebrate the start of community change.

III. Process Mapping & Analysis – This step is expected to take three – six months in the form of two – three virtual supportive sessions and one on-site visit. NAC staff and consultants will work with the local coordinator/lead to gather and do a preliminary analysis of data, conduct interviews, and facilitate a community conversation around need and opportunity.
a. This step is intended to generate the collaborative recommendations for the development of a comprehensive, coordinated assessment center model. It includes the collection of data and performing an analysis to inform strategies, policies, and partnerships that will establish the assessment center. This includes:
 Community mapping and data gathering process
 Data analysis
 Stakeholder Survey distribution and analysis

 Select assessment center domain(s) & access points based on data and need

Implementation Phase - 7 - 10 months

IV. Action Planning – this step is anticipated to take three to six months in the form of two – three virtual supportive sessions and one on-site visit. NAC staff and consultants will work with the local coordinator/lead and community stakeholders to develop an action plan for implementation.
a. Utilizing the data and decisions made in step two in conjunction with the NAC Assessment Center framework and standards of practice, the team will begin to develop an Assessment Center action plan to include:
 Resources necessary for implementation
 Partnerships, policies, procedures, and activities needed for successful implementation
 Community resource mapping to inform referrals

 Establishing evaluation methods and measures of success

V. Implementation – While there may be a launch day, this step is anticipated to take three – four months to help community troubleshoot any potential problems and support them in their beginning months with anything that may arise.

a. Launch of Assessment Center utilizing the action plan and implementation science.

Evaluation Phase – 6 - 12 months

VI. Evaluation – This step is anticipated to take a minimum of six months. After the launch of the assessment center, NAC Staff and consultants will begin the process of evaluating the overall process and implementation. The support given on data analyzing and outcome tracking is expected to occur once enough data is gathered. This is expected to be a at six months into implementation with the likelihood that a full year of data needs to be analyzed for accurate outcome evaluation.
a. Conduct an evaluation and gather feedback on the overall process and implementation of the assessment center launch.
b. Support the continuous process of gathering and analyzing data and tracking outcomes agreed upon in step 3 to evaluate overall impact.


During a twelve - eighteen-month period, NAC staff and consultants will conduct six on-site technical assistance visits to support the process outlined above. Between on-site visits, the NAC will offer up to ten remote, virtual 2-hour supportive sessions. In an effort to support the continuous quality improvement process for centers across the country, after the launch of the assessment center you will have the option to become members of the NAC which will give them access to future trainings, conferences, technical assistance, and an online networking and peer-to-peer platform to ask questions and learn from other centers across the country.

Access to Experts

As a member-based organization, the NAC has the unique ability to engage members with specific expertise as it relates to your community need and action plan. We have the capacity to tap into the leadership and experiences of assessment centers serving different populations and geographic areas so your community can hear and learn directly from those who have been through this process.


(a) Initial Consultation with NAC Staff
(b) Three letters of support from among the following stakeholders:
a. Judge
b. School Superintendent
c. Elected Official
d. Chief of Police
e. Parent
f. Youth
g. Chief Juvenile Court Officer

h. Child Welfare Administrator

*If you don’t feel like your community is ready for planning assistance, you may wish to consider a community training on the assessment center model to start the educating your community and stakeholders.

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