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ESTER - for youth and families in Iceland
Start date: Feb 1, 2015, End date: Jan 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

ESTER is a research based and computerized risk-need assessment system that facilitates the assessment and follow up of risk and protective factors for norm breaking / antisocial behavior in youths and their families. More than 50% so far of the 300 municipalities in Sweden have staff who are trained in ESTER. The Icelandic Government Agency for Child Protection has expressed an interest to attempt an adoption of ESTER in one or several municipalities in Iceland. ESTER is owned by the company VetEvi founded by the developers of ESTER; Henrik Andershed and Anna-Karin Andershed. The company is responsible for training of staff using ESTER as well as the development, management, and administration of ESTER. In Sweden, Henrik and Anna-Karin Andershed are thus far the only trainers in ESTER. A long-term implementation and use of ESTER-abroad should however build on the idea that the country at hand over time becomes more and more autonomous in their training and use of ESTER. The current plan is built on the idea that ESTER will be tested in Iceland initially during 2015 -2017 as a pilot. This has previously been discussed between VetEvi and representatives for the Icelandic Government Agency for Child Protection. We know from experience and research that it is crucial for the success of adoption to develop a clear plan of implementation and evaluation, thus an implementation plan will be authored and followed. The evaluation of ESTER during 2015 -2017 in Iceland should as we see it, given the short period of time for the evaluation, be focused on basic but important things that indicate success with the implementation and usefulness of ESTER, i.e., that the the appr. 100 staff and youth workers are indeed using the instrument, that they are using it with fidelity, that they use the information they acquire from ESTER in their risk-need assessments of youths and their families, and that they focus more on risk- and protective factors in designing or assigning interventions, when using ESTER. All these things are concrete and measurable and also keys for success with ESTER as a tool for improving practice. The process of implementing and testing ESTER in Iceland starts with the translation of ESTER material from Swedish (the original language of ESTER) to Icelandic. This includes the ESTER-manual, the ESTER-assessment rating booklet, all six versions of ESTER-screening, and the computerized system. This is carried out in Sweden by professional translators hired and supervised by the ESTER developers. Trainers are the ESTER developers Henrik Andershed and Anna-Karin Andershed. Multiple trainings will be given during the project period to ensure a proper use of ESTER. A study analysis report will be the key product for presenting the results of this project. Much effort will go into making this report a very clear description of the process and results. The impact on the local level is that local authorities will bee more united in their understanding of were to put their forces when it comes to helping children and their families. More children and families should recieve effective interventions! The impact on the national level is that organizations will have joint understanding in the use of assessment in working with children an that this assessment tool can make it more easier for specialists in different organizations to work together. On an international/european level, this project will produce knowledge on how to implement an assessment instrument in youth social work in a European country, other than the country it was developed in.
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