Technical Assistance Options

Assessment Center Intervention Mapping*

Assessment Center Intervention Mapping is an iterative process that assists communities with deepening their understanding of why and how youth encounter and move through systems processes with the objective to support identification of areas for an Assessment Center to intervene, prevent, and divert.  Through thorough data analysis and stakeholder interviews, a map is created to depict how youth currently encounter systems.  A community convening is held to review the draft map and, collectively identify opportunities for early intervention and prevention. The community convening also allows stakeholders to identify targeted areas through a needs-assets matching process to improve systems responses to youth behavior through diversion and connection to care as facilitated by the Assessment Center.

Operationalizing the Framework* 
Utilizing the Assessment Center Framework and from mapping (if completed), the NAC works with communities to ensure operational plans, infrastructure, evaluation methods and measures, etc. are in alignment with standard benchmarks. The NAC Executive Director and/or consultant(s) are active team members of the planning and implementation teams tasked with launching or enhancing the Assessment Center and provides resources and guidance in order to support planning, implementation, and launch. An initial review of the standards and criteria with the local planning team will allow representatives and the NAC to develop a plan for operationalizing the criteria to best fit the use of the local Assessment Center.  Operational plans can include:  
  • Resources necessary to align with Framework standards
  • Referral Criteria
  • Establishing a screening and assessment system
  • Partnerships, policies, procedures, and activities needed for successful implementation
  • Community resource and service mapping to inform referrals
  • Establishing evaluation methods and measures of success

*Assessment Center Intervention Mapping and Operationalizing the Framework are often completed together for communities looking to adopt the Assessment Center Framework.  To learn more, click HERE.

Core Component Specific Technical Assistance 

The NAC works with existing or developing Assessment Centers in the enhancement or development of any specific core component with the Assessment Center Framework: Single Point of Contact (referral), Screening and Assessment, Case Management, Accountability, and Staff Support and Development.  Some examples are facilitating discussion with community stakeholders on establishing an equitable and coordinated referral process (Single Point of Contact) or developing a screening and assessment system for a specific population of youth served by the Assessment Center (Screening and Assessment). 

Topic Specific Technical Assistance 

The NAC works with existing or developing Assessment Centers on topic-specific matters within the Assessment Center Framework.  Examples of topic-specific technical assistance include developing a screening and assessment system for specific target populations (i.e. commercial sexual or labor exploitation of children, gang-involved youth, LGBTQ+ youth, etc.), developing trauma-informed supervision competencies, and integrating equity CQI processes.  Communities and Centers are encouraged to reach out to the NAC if they have specific needs in any topic within the Assessment Center Framework.

Youth and Family Engagement

A guiding principle of the Assessment Center Framework is to promote and advance policies and practices that ensure youth, families, and youth-identified supports are full partners in all aspects of the planning and delivery of their own services and in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of organizational and programmatic operations.  The NAC works with individual Centers on engaging youth and families to provide feedback on Assessment Center processes and activities as well as developing their own youth advisory board and/or inclusion of youth and families on Center governance boards.  

Outcome Framework and Measurement Plan 

The development of an outcome framework and measurement plan is critical to communicating impact of an Assessment Center.  Outcome frameworks clearly articulate what it does (activities) and how these lead to short, medium, and long term goals.  The NAC works with new and existing Centers to develop an outcome framework and associated measurement plan that both align with the Assessment Center Framework and incorporates individualized community goals.

Continuous Quality Improvement 

Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) is a process which ensures that Centers and their partners are systemic and intentional about improving services and practices and increasing positive outcomes for youth and families served.  While the NAC offers annual self-assessment cohorts to NAC members, CQI technical assistance takes a deeper dive by conducting document reviews and interviews with staff and other key stakeholders to better understand the Center’s practices and where opportunities may exist for improvement.  CQI technical assistance also reviews current data systems, data, and processes to reflect on opportunities to increase quality.