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CHILDREN IN CUSTODY QUESTIONNAIRE REDESIGN PROJECT: RESULTS FROM PHASE 1 EXPLORATORY INTERVIEWS

Laurie Schwede and Kathleen Ott

KEY WORDS: Questionnaire, Redesign

ABSTRACT

This report provides the results of the first of three phases of research conducted as part of the Children in Custody Questionnaire Redesign Project for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in the Justice Department from 1994 to 1997. There are two objectives for this multi-stage questionnaire redesign project. The first is to develop and test a new questionnaire that collects individual-level data on juveniles in custody to replace the collection of aggregate-level data on juveniles in the Census of Juvenile Correctional, Detention, and Shelter Facilities, also known as the Children in Custody Census. The second goal is to develop new wording for facility screening and classification questions to replace critical questions in the existing questionnaire. In this report, the results of early background research and exploratory, semi-structured in-person interviews and observations at 40 purposively selected juvenile facilities in 10 states and the District of Columbia are presented. A substantial number of problems with the existing instrument are identified. These include: definitional issues, such as definitions of the target populations for facilities and for juveniles and definitions of key concepts, such as "commitment" and "status offender." Other problems have to do with classification issues concerning facility type, security, and community access. Additional issues relate to operations, procedures, and methods of data collection. Eighteen recommendations are offered to guide the development of the new questionnaire and census, named the "The Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement." Other reports in this series available from the Center for Survey Methods Research include: Schwede, Laurie and Moyer, Laurie. "Children in Custody Questionnaire Redesign Project: Results from Phase 2 Questionnaire Development and Testing." May 17, 1996. Schwede, Laurie and Gallagher, Catherine. "Children in Custody Questionnaire Redesign Project: Results from Phase 3 Cognitive Testing of the Roster Questionnaire." October 30, 1996. Schwede, Laurie and Ellis, Yukiko. "Children in Custody Questionnaire Redesign Project Final Report: Results of the Split-Panel and Feasibility Tests." October 30, 1997. Ellis, Yukiko and Schwede, Laurie. "Evaluation of the Redesigned Questionnaire for the Children in Custody Census." Short version: 1997 Proceedings of the American Statistical Association Section on Survey Research Methods 228-233. Long version: March 13, 1998.

CITATION: 1995, Prepared for Joseph Moone: Technical Advisor, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Department of Justice.


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