JOURNAL ISSUE 17.3
TO THE NEEDS OF
CHILDREN AND YOUTHS AT
Faculty of Education and
Department of Behaviour
which occur within society, globally as well as those relating to specifically
to Croatia, influence both the phenomenon of behavioural disorders and also the
intervention systems designed to address such disorders. As a result of these
changes, the situation in Croatia may require a more actuarial approach to the risk and needs assessment of children and youths with behavioural disorders.
This paper, specifically elaborates on the problem of matching interventions to
the needs of children and youths at risk with the instruments of assessment. The
paper includes a description of the project ‘ Matching interventions with the
needs of children and youth at risk – creating a model’. The rationale behind
the project is to promote efficient intervention, based on the rights and needs
of children and youths at risk. The focus is mainly on the instruments used for
assessing the needs of children and youths at risk. These instruments could
enrich Croatian practice if there was adequate intervention, standardization of
the criteria used in assessments, and connection between the institutions which
deal with children and youths at risk. It is not recommended that the use of
assessment instruments should be the only criterion, but rather they should be
one of the elements within the creation of the system. This paper presents the
contribution of these instruments and their possibilities in practice, as
presented to the symposium Social Work
with Juvenile Offenders. The symposium started a discussion of
possibilities, advantages and drawbacks of the assessment instruments. However,
no matter which type of assessment is chosen, our primary goal is to identify
children at risk or who have behavioural disorders, and then to include timely
and appropriate intervention.
statistics, everyday practice and media reports show that changes in the
phenomenon of child and youth behavioural disorders have intensified in the
last 15 years in Croatia. Some of the examples are higher intensity and
complexity of disorders, especially recidivism, higher rates of violence and
aggression, and also drug abuse. The characteristics and needs of young people
at risk change constantly and rapidly, while the changes in social response to
those needs lag behind.
From a conceptual viewpoint, the existing system in Croatia raises a
number of questions concerning the adequacy of the interventions for the
population of children and youths. For example: Is it possible to build a
system which would respect children’s rights? Could such a system be adjusted
to the individual psycho-social needs of a child? Is it possible to determine
the characteristics of children and youths at risk that could influence
decisions regarding treatment choice? These questions are of a great importance
with regard to goal of this paper, which is an elaboration of assessment
instruments and processes regarding risk and intervention needs of children and
youths at risk or with behavioural disorders, and also matching the level of
intervention with the needs, and with respect to children’s rights.
However, some changes in Croatian welfare and juvenile justice systems
are taking place. On the one hand, these changes are happening ad hoc and
unsystematically, while on the other hand there is a systematic approach based
on the ongoing reform of social welfare and a few scientific projects. These
scientific projects are trying to find theoretically and scientifically based
and user-friendly approaches to risk assessment and interventions. Their focus is
on the identification of disorders, appropriate treatment and determining the
type of treatment. Accordingly, one such scientific project will be presented
in this paper.
The key problem examined in this paper is the consideration of criteria
and methods for ‘needs’ assessment as a base for a scientifically approved
assessment instrument. The process of risk and needs assessment, as well as the
implementation of interventions, is always contextually influenced. Croatia is
a country in transition, with elements of traditional culture, but also with
cultural elements of modern and postmodern times. This strongly influences the
environment in which children grow up, as well as society’s response to
unacceptable behaviour. Different aspects of modern and postmodern approaches
influence the way Croatian society defines behavioural disorders, as well as
the upbringing and education of children and youths in general. According to
Žižak (2004), there are many difficulties in the consent of the
experts when facing this problem. There is only partial reaction on the behaviour
disorders and the consequences they bring since the domestic system of social
reactions is not consistent and no scientifically based approach exists. That
means it cannot be adjusted to modern (rehabilitation) or postmodern
reconstructive and affirmative interventions.
Focussing specifically on the process of matching, it is important to
mention the existing and/or prevailing ways of deciding on adequate
intervention. When deciding on the type of interventions for children at risk
or who have behavioural disorders, professionals are guided by experience and
professional literature. According to Koren-Mrazović (1999), the
circumstances and life domains which should be taken into consideration in that
- Family circumstances and the
characteristics of micro-system in which the person has been growing and
- Personal and developmental
circumstances of a child or youth
- Duration of the personal and
- Age of the child or youth
- Previously applied social
criteria for choosing the intervention have to be complex and multidimensional:
they need to focus on the personal characteristics of an individual and his or her
surroundings, and also the possibilities which existing practice offers – the continuum
of services and interventions. When choosing the most appropriate intervention
for children on an individual basis, a large number of circumstances need to be
analysed. When the standardized criteria are lacking, experts often reach out
for their ‘own expertise’, which may lead to inconsistency in assessment and
choosing inappropriate forms of care.
In looking for standardized criteria, an actuarial approach can be
helpful. Actuarial instruments are structured, quantitative, and empirically
linked to the relevant criterion (Bonta 2002). This approach to the assessment
of needs and risks has the potential to help experts when choosing the
appropriate intervention since it takes into consideration all of the
aforementioned circumstances. It could also help with the matching of the
practice and the criteria, as well as connecting all services dealing with
children and youths with behavioural disorders. Efforts to match interventions
to the needs of the children and youths at risk have existed in Croatia for
some time, and the research conducted to date (Žižak et al. 1999;
Žižak et al. 2001; Koller-Trbović & Žižak 2005)
could form a good base for this process.
In this respect, the assessment instruments greatly contribute to the
treatment planning. In addition to the contributions of the instruments of risks
and/or needs assessment when choosing the intervention, they can also
contribute to the treatment planning. The structure and the process of the
programming (Koller-Trbović 1999) relate to defining the needs of youths
and the aims of treatment, determining the type of help required, checking
treatment possibilities, defining the content and methods of the work involved,
defining time frames and enabling evaluation. Accordingly, the following
presents a scientific project in progress at the Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences. Since the project
is in progress, only some basics of the project will be described here, without
the final results. However, these basics may contribute to an understanding of
matching interventions with the needs of children.
The project is titled Matching
interventions with the needs of children at risk – creating a model,
and the project is financed by The Ministry of Science, Education and Sports in
the Republic of Croatia. The project leader is Antonija Žižak (PhD)
and the purpose of the project is to emphasize a stronger and more explicit
orientation of the interventions system towards the rights and needs of
children and youths. The main goal of the project is to create and propose an
intervention model for children with behavioural disorders or those at risk of
developing behavioural disorders, primarily within the welfare system, which
would be based on the scientific assessment of psycho-social risks and the intervention
needs of the users. The specific goals (i.e. project proposal) are:
To develop, standardize and equip
for practical implementation instruments for the assessment of needs and/or risks
of children and youths at risk of having behavioural disorders
To screen and describe the
population of children and youths included in the welfare intervention system
through three key characteristics: risk levels, strengths and intervention
needs, and also to analyse these characteristics from the perspective of the appropriateness
of the interventions in which they are included
To screen and describe a one-year
population of new service users – children and youths at risk of and/or
having behavioural disorders, in relation to the key characteristics, namely
risk levels, strengths and intervention needs
To propose an intervention system
which is matched with the assessed risk levels, intervention needs and user
starting point is related to the screening and description of the existing
situation. In order to examine the population of children and youths in the
existing intervention system, comprehensive screening was conducted. The
screening included different types of treatment (Table 1). The whole population
of children and youths under institutional treatment between 1 February 2008
and 31 March 2008 in the Republic of Croatia was also screened. Data on the
population of children and youths in day treatment programmes and
community-based programmes were assessed using representative samples.
Table 1. Number of research participants in
different treatment programmes.
Type of Treatment
Day treatment programmes
Number of institutions
Number of participants
goal of the project is to describe a one-year cohort of new service users,
(characteristics of the population of children and youths at risk of developing
behavioural disorders), which will be examined using a representative sample.
The participants will be potential new service users of various programmes in
the welfare system during the year 2008.
Youths as new service users and an overview of types of institution.
Juvenile justice system
Type and number of institutions
8 centres for social work
2 juvenile attorney’s offices
Number of participants
Final numbers not
the project is in progress, only a proportion of the activities have been
completed, some of them are at planning stage, and some are in the process of
implementation. Completed activities include the following:
instruments for assessment of risks and needs have been chosen.
A pilot project – analysing
metric characteristics of instruments has been carried out.
The implementation of an
in the process of implementation:
Screening and describing the
population of youths through the use of the instruments.
Collecting, analysing and
interpreting data – descriptive and comparative types (i.e. quantitative
and qualitative methodology).
activities whose planning and implementation will follow:
Focus group discussions with
experts, parents, children, and politicians in order to understand the wider concept
of behavioural disorder.
Analyses of successful interventions
systems (examples worldwide).
Prior to the implementation of the research, theoretically well-grounded
instruments for the assessment of risks and/or needs and strengths were
selected. The three following instruments were used in order to choose,
standardize and adjust instruments to a population of Croatian children and
youths at risk:
Child Behaviour Checklist for Ages 6– 18 (CBCL/6-18)
Risk Factor Questionnaire (Scholte
The Youth Level of Service/Case
Management Inventory (YLS/CMI) (Andrews et al. 2002).
Child Behaviour Checklist for Ages 6–18 (CBCL/6-18)
Behaviour Checklist for Ages 6– 18 (CBCL/6-18) (Achenbach 1991) instrument is
intended to be used for the assessment of the children’s competencies and
behavioural and/or emotional problems. The purpose of using this instrument is
to choose an adequate intervention and to develop an appropriate treatment programme
and evaluation (www.aseba.org). There are three forms of the instrument;
however, this research used only two: the Child
Behaviour Check List and the Teacher
Report Form. The versions of instruments used in this research were
standardized for the Croatian population by Rudan et al. (2005) and are used
with their permission.
consists of two parts. The first part provides very specific information about a
child’s activities, social relations and school performance, while the second
part describes specific behavioural and emotional problems. The latter part (Teacher Report Form) contains
113 items of emotional and behavioural problems of children and youths. The
items are divided either into eight cross-informant syndromes or into two general
categories – internalizing and externalizing behaviour. The instrument
includes withdrawn, anxious and/or depressed,
somatic complaints under ‘internalizing behaviour’, while aggressive behaviour and
rule-breaking behaviour are included under ‘externalizing behaviour’. Three
syndromes are covered by any of general categories: social problems, attention problems
and thought problems (Achenbach et al. 1995).
The CBCL/6-18 has multiple purposes. It can be used for the assessment
of emotional and behavioural problems, the selection of interventions, the
training of professionals, administrative classification, and the improvement
of knowledge (Koller-Trbović 2008).
Risk Factor Questionnaire
The Risk Factor Questionnaire (Scholte 1991)
has not been used in Croatia to date. However, it has been translated and used with
the author’s permission. Accordingly, the usage of the instrument is not
standardized, although pilot research has provided a very good metric
characteristic of the instrument and has received good feedback from
professionals regarding the usage of the instrument.
The purpose of the instrument is to define needs of children and youths
and match them with interventions. The instrument is based on a socio-ecological
approach and on Social Learning Theory (1990, acc. Scholte 1992). Accordingly,
risk factors related to childhood behaviour disorders are divided into four
groups: risk factors in family, in school, in peer group, and in personality.
The division of behavioural problems is based on Achenbach’s division
(internalizing and externalizing problem behaviours).
According to the socio-ecological model, whenever a problematic
personality disposition in a child is accompanied by difficult educational development
and conditions within its family, peer group, or at school, there is higher
risk that the child will develop emotional and behavioural difficulties in the
near future (Scholte 1992).
The instrument consists of 89 items, divided into 18 categories, or into
six domains which are related to a socio-ecological model:
1. Externalizing behaviour (hyperactive, aggressive, antisocial)
2. Internalizing behaviour (depression, anxiety, social anxiety)
3. Personality development (self-control, locus of control, coping
4. Family (primary) environment (family conflict, supervision,
5. School (secondary) environment
(school motivation, school achievement, teacher relations)
6. Peer (tertiary) environment (risky activities, peer relations,
The Youth Level of Service/Case Management
Level of Service/Case Management Inventory (YLS/CMI) (Andrews et al. 2002) has been used in Croatia since 1994, and
was standardized in 2002 (Nikolić et al. 2002). Since then the instrument
has been through minor content and graphic changes and currently needs to be
re-evaluated and standardized again.
The instrument produces a detailed survey of the risks and needs factors
relating to youths. It provides a link between intervention and case plan. It
is based on the Risk – Need – Responsivity (RNR) model. Risk factors are attributed to the individual
and their environment. They are related to the appearance and development of
criminal behaviour. Needs are dynamic and can change in the course of treatment
interventions, and the addressing of such needs can reduce criminal activity.
The importance of criminogenic needs is in the design and the delivery of the
treatment. The principle of Responsivity describes how treatment should be
provided. These factors are not related to criminal activity but to the type of
intervention, meaning that the type of intervention must match the personal
characteristics, learning style, intelligence, self-esteem, and motivation of
an individual (Hoge & Andrews 2006).
A basic assumption of the instrument is that the causes of a young
person’s criminal activity are complex interactions of variables of that
person’s characteristics and their surrounding circumstances. Interventions
must be matched with the level of risk, needs, responsivity, and strengths of the
person and also that person’s environment.
The YLS/CMI is composed of the following seven sections: Assessment of
Risks and Needs, Summary of Risk/Needs Factors, Assessment of Other
Needs/Special Considerations, Professional Assessment of the Client’s General
Risk/Need Level, Contact Level, Case Management Plan, and Case Management
Review (Nikolić et al. 2002).
The aforementioned three
instruments were chosen for the following reasons:
- They belong to a third and
fourth generation of instruments for the assessment of needs, strengths
- They measure dynamic risk
characteristics and needs, and identify the key elements in coordinating
users’ characteristics with the potential and/or chosen interventions
- They do not burden experts or
children with additional tests and procedures, which is particularly
important when taking into account the ethics of conducting research with
- They enrich the existing
practice of needs assessment in a new qualitative way
- They look for both risks and
protective factors (in the process of assessing key life segments of a
the description of the project, it is very important to put it in the broader
context of matching interventions with the needs of children. Two basic
principles could potentially contribute to more explicit, timely, appropriate,
and efficient interventions which are based on the rights and the needs of
children and youths at risk. Thus, the necessity of matching the interventions
to the needs of children and youths at risk may be justified. The basic principles,
which will be discussed in detail in the following sections, are:
1. Principles of effective intervention
2. The rights of the child.
Principles of effective intervention
experience and research can be of considerable help when planning and creating
effective intervention. Meta-analyses have been conducted to examine the
effectiveness of various rehabilitation programmes, and some common
characteristics have been summarized (Matthews et al. 2001, p. 455):
interventions are behavioural in their nature
of service should be matched to the risk level of the offender. Intensive
services are necessary for high-risk offenders
should identify the needs of offenders and should be matched to services
designed to improve their specific needs
approaches and service providers should be matched to the learning style or the
personality of the offender
programme should be highly structured
members should be trained and supervised appropriately
programmes should be evaluated through the goals of treatment
members or significant others are trained how to assist clients during problem
levels of advocacy and brokerage occur if community services are appropriate.
One of the
most important principles of classification and matching is the risk principle,
which states that the level of service should be matched to the risk level of the
person concerned (Andrews, Bonta, Hoge, 1990, acc. to Matthews et al. 2001).
Effective intervention requires a good match between programme concept and the
treated person (child). Therefore, these principles of effective interventions
as the empirically based standards could serve as benchmarks for programme
development (Matthews et al. 2001). This could ensure the adjustment of the intervention
for every single child within its level of risk and needs.
Some of the principles of effective interventions are impossible to
conduct without the instruments for risk and needs assessment, which could also
function as an objective method of assessment. Without standardized methods of
assessment, systems and treatment programmes are limited in their ability to
match clients to appropriate services (Matthews et al. 2001).
The importance of the dynamic risk and/or needs assessments for case
management is that they identify needs that serve as goals for treatment. They
can be helpful for the delivery of treatment and for measuring progress in
treatment. They may be useful with respect to responsivity considerations. The
responsivity principle states that the style and mode of treatment must be
matched to the cognitive, personality, and socio-cultural characteristics of
the individual (Bonta 2002).
It should also be noted that the aims of the project follow the
principles of effective interventions, especially in the areas of matching the
level of treatment to the risk level of an individual, identifying the needs
which the treatment is based on and taking into consideration the learning
style and personality of the person treated.
The rights of the child
this paper has so far been concerned with the intervention system, it should be
borne in mind that the child and his/her needs is the focus of the matching.
The second of the two studied principles will be of help in this respect.
On an individual level, the needs of a child are the basis for every
human upbringing. According to Žižak & Vizek-Vidović (2004),
the needs and rights are two sides of the same coin: on the one side there are
needs as the natural bio-psychosocial phenomenon, and on the other side there are
rights as societal phenomena. When recognizing and caring for children’s needs,
we respect their rights. Conversely, violating their rights means endangering
their needs. This is the reason why the Convention on the Rights of the Child
should be a second point.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which
the Republic of Croatia also signed and ratified, emphasizes rights which the
state must ensure for every child. The Convention tends to take into consideration
all the needs of a child as a human being and protects all children’s
With regard to the needs of children, and taking the UNCRC into
consideration, Article No. 3 could form a base for such activities (United Nations
1991, p. 3):
In all actions concerning children, whether
undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law,
administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the
child shall be a primary consideration.
developmental and protective rights must be a primary consideration in all
actions undertaken. This right is respected by caring for the needs and
individual characteristics of children and their environment.
When choosing an appropriate intervention, it is necessary to consider
some other principles that put individualization, differentiation of the
treatment and participation of children in focus. When deciding which type of
treatment is in the best interests of a child or youth, the articles of special
concern are those connected to the children’s participation, which include:
- The right to express views
freely in all matters affecting the child (UNCRC Art. 12, United Nations
1991 , p. 5)
- The right to freedom of
expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart
information and ideas of all kinds (UNCRC Art. 13, United Nations
1991, p. 5)
of research with children with behavioural disorders who are placed in institutions
(Koller-Trbović & Žižak 1999) are informative regarding the
participation of children in the decision-making process on their future and
treatment. According to the results, 44% of the children stated that they had
the possibility to participate in the decision-making process, while 37% of
them stated they had no such possibility. Regarding treatment planning, 14% of
them said they had no opportunity to participate in their own treatment, while
45% of them stated they participated regularly.
Children’s participation in the decision-making process contributes to
matching interventions with their needs. Analysis of results could form the
ground for making decisions on adequate treatment. Also, this could be the base
for cooperation and negotiation in the best interests of a child. In this
sense, Croatia already has some experience relating to the participation of
children and youths in the assessment process and in planning interventions
(Koller-Trbović & Žižak 2005). Experience and the project results
show that children learn the importance of responsibility and the importance of
cooperation, while experts receive better insight into the situation, and are
better able to make decisions and hence can expect better treatment results.
The next set of UNCRC articles that are important are those relating to
the various forms of intervention:
A variety of dispositions, such as care,
guidance and supervision orders; counseling; probation; foster care; education
and vocational training programs and other alternatives to institutional care
shall be available to ensure that children are dealt with in a manner
appropriate to their well-being and proportionate both to their circumstances
and the offence. (UNCRC Art. 40, United Nations
criteria for forming the continuum of interventions are the needs of users. The
existing concept of intervention continuum (acc. Bašić et al. 2004)
is defined by interdependent continuums of risk/needs (minimal, medium, high,
and very high risk), population (general, target and indicated population),
interventions (primary prevention, early intervention, treatment), and programmes
(developing the programme on different levels – community, family,
school, individual). According to Bašić et al. (2004) a significant
deficit in the approaches is apparent. Primary prevention is insufficiently
developed and applied, there is a lack of sufficient and different early
intervention programmes, treatment programmes are not attuned to the needs of
the population, and there is no provision for post-treatment care. On the level
of concrete programmes, there is deficit of programmes such as, for example,
help within the family, out-of-court settlement, and counselling in crisis
Based on these ideas, it can be seen that matching interventions to the
needs of children is problematic. Instruments for needs and/or risk assessment
could be helpful in respecting children’s needs and rights: they may enrich
everyday practice, be helpful in treatment planning based on the needs of
children and youths at risk, and generally be orientated to the identification
of their needs.
Among many important children’s rights is their right to live with their
parents. Separation should be enforced only in cases when a child’s interests are
at risk. The institutions obliged to implement the UNCRC should protect
children from abuse and neglect, intensify their upbringing within the family,
and ensure the respect of children’s basic rights. Responsibility for a child
is the parents’ obligation, and this is prescribed by national law
(Koller-Trbović & Žižak 1999). Despite all of the efforts
that have been made, there are situations which may lead to a child being separated
from their family. Such occurrences are identified by the Family Act (Official
Gazette Nos. 116/03, 17/04, 136/04, 107/07), the Social Welfare Act (Official
Gazette Nos. 73/97, 27/01, 59/01, 82/01, 103/03, 44/06, 79/07), and the Act on
Juvenile Courts (Official Gazette Nos. 111/97, 27/98, 12/02).
According to evidence from juvenile courts in Croatia, in the last 10
years the annual percentage of institutional sanctions has ranged from 8.3% to
16.9% (Državni zavod za statistiku 2006). Children placed in institutions
are deprived of their right to live with their parents and in their own home,
and sometimes in their community. This makes them particularly vulnerable in
terms of fulfilling their own rights. The Committee on the Rights of Child
suggested in its 2nd periodic report on child’s rights in Croatia that these
difficulties, and many more, exist still in Croatia (2005; Articles 41 and 42,
In the context described, it is relevant to analyse the charter The Realization of the Children’s Rights in
the Extrafamiliar Care (The National Association of the Child Care Workers
1993). This document is an
informal addition to the UNCRC, with special focus on children placed in
children’s homes and institutions. The charter has been published in Croatia on
several occasions, and in 2008 it was printed as a special leaflet from the ombudsman
for children, to support the standard to which Croatia aspires. The charter
mentions the following set of rights (Žižak & Vizek-Vidović
- Right to professional treatment
- Right to the help of a
- Right to information and
participation in decision-making
- Right to take personal
Some of the
rights are connected to children’s participation in procedures and decisions
relating to their treatment and accommodation (Žižak & Vizek-Vidović
2004, p. 29):
- To have a developmentally
appropriate plan of care and a right to participate and make changes to it
- A regular review of the plan of
the placement and care and a right to participate and make changes to it
- To be heard, particularly when
decision are made concerning them. They must be given the opportunity to
say what they want to say in their own way and be allowed to ask questions
when they do not understand something.
addition, children should:
- Know their rights and
- They have a right to know the
law regarding punishment of children in the residential facilities
- Know the procedure to follow
when making a complaint regarding the violation of their rights.
( Žižak & Vizek-Vidović 2004,
these rights are related to the treatment settings, conditions in treatment
facilities and professional help:
- Expect that their plan of care
is based on a thorough and competent assessment of their needs and
strengths, in the context of their family and community environments
- The least restrictive and most
empowering environment possible appropriate to their needs and problems
- Care and intervention which
respects their cultural, religious and individual differences
- An education appropriate to
( Žižak & Vizek-Vidović 2004,
It is apparent
that all of the aforementioned rights are children’s personal rights, but some
are specifically emphasized here. Respecting them in institutions depends on
the treatment policy of the given institution and the treatment staff. The
following rights are relevant in this respect:
- Personal privacy, adequate free
time to pursue their own activities, and a right to their own possessions
- Participate in sport, cultural
and recreational activities in the community
- Age-appropriate discipline
- Regular contact with their
parents, family and friends. They have the right to say if they are
frightened or unhappy about seeing their parents or any other person, and
cannot be forced to see anyone if they do not want to.
( Žižak & Vizek-Vidović 2004,
of rights have been specifically extracted: professional treatment and children’s
participation. The document emphasizes the importance of putting children in
institutions in the same position as other children.
The charter The Realization of the
Children’s Rights in the Extrafamiliar Care specially emphasizes children’s
responsibility in addition to their rights. Other documents mention only the
responsibilities and obligations of all those who participate in the education
of children. The UNCRC mentions the responsibilities of adults towards
children, as well as the obligations of different social institutions in
protecting children. Constant work on fulfilling children’s rights and benefits
is not a one-way process, and the responsibilities and obligations of adults
differ from those of children. However, in order to make it a two-way process,
all participants need to recognize their obligations and responsibilities as
well as their rights. Thereby, children would not only be the subject of
treatment, but they would begin to be active decision-making participants. If
this were to happen, treatment would probably give better results and raise expectations.
The aforementioned aspects of responsibility are (Žižak &
Vizek-Vidović 2004, p. 30):
- Respect the rights of others,
and be helpful to others in the residential community
- Maintain personal cleanliness
- Respect differences of culture
and religion and those who are disabled.
development in today’s society gives children many choices and decisions to
make educational transitions and integration into the labour market. This
emphasis upon self-actualization has significant impact upon individual needs
and rights. Individual needs are no longer universal rights and general care,
but the creation of possibilities and investment in children (Kemshall 2002;
acc. Kemshall 2008). Professional forms of treatment and the diversity of
interventions available enable us to go some way to meeting the needs of
children and respect the rights of children in institutions.
the key problem examined in this paper is the consideration of criteria and
methods for needs assessment. In this respect, the scientifically based way of
matching interventions with the needs of children has been presented in the
context of Croatian society. The process of risk and needs assessment as well
as the implementation of interventions is always contextually influenced. Thus,
the aims of the project follow the principles of effective interventions,
especially in the areas of matching the level of treatment to the risk level of
an individual, identifying the needs which the treatment is based on, and
taking into consideration the personality and learning characteristics of the
In the context of children’s rights, it can be seen that the matching of
interventions to the needs of children with instruments of assessment could be
helpful in respecting their rights. This could enrich everyday practice, be
helpful in treatment planning based on the needs of children and youths at
risk, and generally be directive in the identification of their needs.
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C., McConuaghy, S. & Stanger, C. (1995) Six-year predictors of problems in
a national sample of children and youth: I. Cross-informant syndromes. Journal
of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry March 1995, 336–347.
Andrews, D.A., Hoge,
R.D. & Leschield, A.W. (2002) Youth
Level of Service/Case Management Inventory. Toronto: MHS.
Žižak, A., Koller-Trbović, N. (2004) Prijedlog pristupa
rizičnim ponašanjima i poremećajima u ponašanju djece i
mladih. U: Bašić, J., Koller – Trbović, N., Uzelac, S.
(ur.) Poremećaji u ponašanju i
rizična ponašanja: pristupi i pojmovna određenja. Zagreb:
Edukacijsko – rehabilitacijski fakultet, Sveučilište
u Zagrebu, 45–56.
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