This article presents an assessment of a decision support system (DSS) to assist youth probation officers in selecting their recommendations to the courts. The evaluation employed mixed methods in a sequence of four stages: (1) Qualitative assessment of the impact of the DSS via interviews with senior administrators and analysis of documents; (2) Qualitative assessment of staff responses to the DSS, via focus groups and personal interviews; (3) Quantitative assessment of system utilization, via statistical analysis of data bases; and (4) Quantitative assessment of DSS utilization and its predictors, via administration of a battery of questionnaires to all youth probation officers throughout the country. Quantitative findings showed a low rate of utilization of the DSS by the youth probation officers and this is discussed and interpreted in light of the qualitative information stemming from the interviews.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors wish to thank the Israel Ministry of Labor and Welfare and ELEM-Youth in Distress, who funded this study; the Forum for Children and Youth Affairs, under whose auspices the study was conducted; and the management and staff of the Youth Probation Service, for their cooperation and support throughout this endeavor.
- Human service