TOP Substance Abuse
TOP Substance Abuse Screen (TSAS) scores can be used to determine whether a more formal clinical evaluation is recommended and the type of professional or program to which a person might be referred.
The TSAS relies on input from multiple raters, including the caseworker, the foster parent, the bio-parent and the child. Using the perspectives of many people in the child’s life means that TSAS is more likely to capture multiple signs of substance abuse rather than simply relying on a caseworker’s sometimes incomplete awareness of substance abuse issues. Multiple perspectives also solves the problem of evaluating adolescents who are in denial.
TSAS also has no ceiling effects and can assess very severe substance abuse (more than 18 standard deviations more severe than the general population) and track commensurate progress or worsening in treatment. This is a major advantage of TOP over virtually all other child outcome and assessment tools.
How TOP Substance Abuse Screen works:
The Treatment Outcome Package (TOP; Kraus, Jordan & Seligman, 2005) incorporates the UNCOPE scale (Hoffmann, Hunt, Rhodes & Riley, 2003). Original UNCOPE items were derived from a national treatment population of about 40,000 clients from programs throughout the US.
UNCOPE has been validated in a study of arrestees, state prison inmates and adolescents in juvenile justice settings. Oklahoma, Kentucky and Los Angeles County, CA are currently using the tool in child welfare. Evaluation research using TOP (and the TSAS specifically) has won The Joint Commission’s Codman Award for quality improvement.