Using Technology for Home Evaluations and Quarterly Progress Reports (QPRs)
Since strict restrictions have been imposed on face-to-face contact throughout the nation, state ICJ Office personnel, probation and parole officers, and others are employing creative strategies to ensure that essential Compact-related business continues as much as possible. We have recently learned of many interesting strategies for conducting home evaluations and quarterly progress reports, including:
- Video conferencing (You see and hear individuals, get a virtual tour of the home; ask to see mail featuring specific names and addresses; and more.)
- Google maps (You can confirm the location of a residence or develop a description of the neighborhood.)
- Outdoor meetings (In many states, you can still meet on the porch, in the yard, or anywhere that social distancing can be practiced.)
While the Commission’s Emergency Guidelines Policy does not specifically address whether home evaluations or QPRs can be performed without face-to-face contact, it does provide some guidance. Pursuant to Section IV.A., “Each state will follow their state’s guidelines and procedures for managing, locating, and supervising juveniles in the event of an emergency. States must continue to supervise juveniles without distinction from supervision of intra-state juveniles.” Therefore, so long as it is consistent with how other probation and parole contacts are being conducted, it is acceptable to conduct home evaluations and QPRs using telephone or videoconferencing options for ICJ functions during this crisis.
Furthermore, several concerns regarding home evaluations and Quarterly Progress Reports (QPR) have recently been discussed by the ICJ Executive Committee. Based on these discussions, creative use of technology appears to be a strategy used by many states at this time. While not ideal, we know state’s are doing their very best to create and support all creative and resourceful efforts to engage and support families and youth.