Date of Conferral







Jesus Tanguma


Present research has offered few easy-to-administer, accurate, and psychometrically-tested screening tools. Additionally, a gap exists in peer-reviewed literature concerning effective utilization of a family risk assessment instrument to determine the appropriate services for families involved in high-conflict custody cases. The purpose of this quantitative study was to determine if the Child Risk Index for Divorced or Separating families (CRI-DS) can be used as an effective family risk assessment tool to identify specific family needs and refer families to relevant court-related family triage services and programs. This study was grounded by Kellam and Van Horn's life course/social field theory. This study was supported by archival data. Correlation and regression analyses of 5 research questions addressing the relationships between family risk, court use, and related court services. Correlation results indicated both gender and marital status were significantly associated with an elevated pretest CRI-DS score and likewise conflict intensity also tended to increase. Study findings were consistent with previous findings that stress of divorce and separation was exacerbated by parental conflict and impacted the core relationships within the family; having long-term negative effects on the psychological well-being of the children involved. Using the CRI-DS as a triage instrument can facilitate the determination of which interventive services may be implemented for at-risk youth of high-conflict families, therefore promoting positive social change through the potential to improve the lives of at-risk youth and their families.