Updating the Assessment Center Model 

The National Assessment Center Association (NAC) believes the assessment center model is integral to a continuum of support that serves youth and families. Over seventy assessment centers throughout the United States are working to “guard the front door” of systems to serve the best interests of youth and their communities. Until the creation of the NAC, there was no organization with a mission of supporting assessment centers, providing technical assistance, or professional expertise focused on assessment center policies and practices. Without this support over the years, assessment centers span operational and quality spectrums that can create confusion around the assessment center model. The NAC recognizes this gap and has begun the work of developing an updated framework.

For this framework to be based in best practices, we must turn to our colleagues for expertise and guidance.  In July, 2020, the NAC announced the creation of the Assessment Center Model Advisory Committee (shown below). The Advisory Committee will utilize the newly established Assessment Center Model Guiding Principles to achieve the following:
  • Reviewing the initial core components of assessment centers developed by OJJDP in the 1990s and make recommendations for updates or modifications based on current research and best practices.
  • Identify standards of practice.
  • Establish outcome measures to allow centers to measure impact and provide continuous quality improvement.

We are grateful for the support and expertise of the Advisory Committee to ensure assessment centers are successful in supporting youth in their communities. We anticipate the release of the updated framework throughout 2020 and 2021.