HEAT Program Approach

The program approach HEAT takes with each youth will be determined by the findings of the Level of Service inventory Alternative Measures Screen (LSR-R: SV). The HEAT coordinator will have been trained to administer this screen. The screening tool has a high level of validity in determining low risk. Research indicates that with youth at low risk to re-offend the best thing we can do is "nothing" (i.e. do not further involve youth in the formal judicial system or expose them through programming to increased contact with higher risk youth). These youth will be referred to regular alternative measures programming with RAMP or John Howard Society. Once low risk youth have successfully met the conditions of their victim-offender mediation or community justice forum agreement, their involvement in the alternative measures program is completed.

Youth who screen with more than two indicators of risk (three to nine) will have the full LSI-SK Risk Assessment and SK Strengths Assessment for Youth administered. The screening tool is able to differentiate medium risk (three to five indicators) and high risk (six to nine indicators) in a limited way. However, it is recommended with medium risk, and mandatory with high risk, that the full LSI-SK be used to ensure maximum validity. The strengths assessment will help with case planning by providing more descriptive information on the personality of the youth/family/community that can impact on the identified risk factors. It is important to note that a finding of high risk indicates that the youth is at higher risk to re-offend if nothing is done to address the identified risk factors, and not that the youth is an inappropriate candidate for alternative measures programming.

The HEAT coordinator will be trained to administer the complete LSI-SK Risk Assessment and the SK Strengths Assessment for Youth. While consideration is being given to having an outside agency administer these tools, it will be critical for the coordinator to fully understand the assessments, the results, and the implications for programming.

All youth not screened out as low risk will be engaged in specific follow up activities of HEAT that will address criminogenic risk factors , as identified by the screening and assessment. This approach is consistent with the YCJA direction of making diversion services available to those who are willing to participate. It is considered unlikely that any youth referred will be assessed as inappropriate for alternative measures due to the level of support and supervision required to meet their needs. However, the option will remain, as with all alternative measures programs, for the HEAT coordinator to recommend the charge be returned to court.