Phase 1: Needs Assessment & Proposal Development

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Phase 1: Needs Assessment & Proposal Development

A Needs Assessment and Proposal Development
FASD and Law Enforcement:

An Online Learning Course for RCMP

Terralyn McKee

MDDE 604: Instructional Design in Distance Education

Dr. Griff Richards

Assignment #1 – February 3, 2009

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a set of devastating birth defects, physical and cognitive, caused by prenatal alcohol consumption; partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a cluster of symptoms, physical and cognitive, where some, but not all, of the anomalies of FAS are present (Chudley et al., 2005). For the purposes of this paper, the term Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), will be used to identify all terms associated with prenatal alcohol use and the ranges of resulting cognitive and physical disabilities.

Incidence rates for full Fetal Alcohol Syndrome are 1–3/1000 and 9.1/1000 for for FASD (Burd & Wentz, 1997). Extracting these numbers across the population presents an estimate of 330,000 Canadians diagnosed with some form of FASD. Augmenting this statistic is research demonstrating that over 75% of individuals with FASD will come into contact with the law (Streissguth et al.,1996).

It is recognized that individuals with FASD are over represented within the Canadian criminal justice system. Research indicates that in one federal prison alone, 10% of the population met the criteria for FASD (Grant & MacPhearson, 2007). It is estimated that closer to 28% of the population would have met the criteria if confirmation of prenatal alcohol consumption had been possible (Grant & MacPhearson, 2007).

It is not unrealistic to expect that criminal justice system personnel – law enforcement, courts and corrections - will come into frequent contact with FASD affected clients. Quantitative research and qualitative studies supports that this particular population is poorly identified and served with respect to protection issues, due process, and application of Rights and Freedoms as identified within jurisprudence (Streissguth,et al. 2000; Conry, Boulding, 2007; Burd, 1997; Markenstien, 2002; Sobsey, 1994; LePlante & Carlson, 1996; Wilson & Brewer,1992). The resulting disconnect highlights the need for FASD-specific knowledge, skills and training within the criminal justice system.

Law enforcement serves as the gateway for the criminal justice system. Appropriate responses at this level could in fact shape responses across the system to support more appropriate and effective outcomes to justice issues involving individuals with FASD. As such, this course is designed to enhance the capacity (skills, knowledge and resources) of law enforcement officers in addressing FASD (Laporte et al., 2002).
Part 1: Needs Assessment
There are three conditions which Smith & Ragan (2005) identify as causative factors instigating a needs assessment:

1) problems that arise within the learner population and/or their environment,

2) changes within the learner set and/or their learning environment, and

3) initiation of an organizational evaluation.

Using these conditions, they identify the following models of needs assessment:

The summarized process for each model displays distinctive needs assessment direction within each model. Before Smith and Ragan (2005) identify the models of assessment, they take the time to present the caveat of contextual learning environment. This context determines, in large part, the most appropriate model give the totality of the circumstances.

The environments which direct model choice include

1) physical realities - space/place aspects,

2) the aspects deemed ‘temporal and social’, or those aspects presenting

elements of time and behaviour, and finally

3) the context of the design process itself and the techniques which are

directly influenced by the first two contextual aspects.

As the authors point out, while the problem-based and innovation models extend into the discrepancy model, it may be necessary to borrow approaches from within each model to best construct an appropriate needs assessment for the client problem (Smith & Ragan, 2005. pp. 44-46).

Based on this caveat, I have chosen an integrated approach, using as my first choice the problem-based / discrepancy model, and borrowing elements from the innovations model to address the RCMP’s recent shift in business plan philosophy and strategic operational framework, Balanced Scorecard, to one that impacts on learner expectations and environmental contexts.

This integrated approach will best serve the interests of the client, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) as it appears to be the best fit with the Balanced Scorecard approach. The Balanced Scorecard concept was developed as a performance measurement framework (Kaplan & Norton, 1996), and it acts as a generative tool to incorporate analysis of goals to activities (gaps, problems), improvement of communications internally and externally (changes in process and protocol), and provide a summative evaluation of success against goals within the overall framework of the organization. Each of these functions addresses at least one aspect of each of the needs assessment models outlined by Smith & Ragan.

These operations are organized under a strategic framework dedicated to the primary goal of “Safer homes, Safer communities” where “all of our organizational activities should enhance the safety, security and well-being of Canadians.” (RCMP, 2009).

The following diagram showing the Integrated Policing model, further demonstrates this complexity and integration by including partners and stakeholders, program activities and strategic priorities.

Validating the Need for Instructional Programming

Clearly, no single needs assessment approach captures all of the factors which will influence the assessment and prospective instructional development of this project. Collection of relevant data information is critical in determining if a need exists and what kind of instructional program would be best suited to this project.

For primary data, personnel within the criminal justice system (CJS) are the most appropriate population to address issues around perceived prevalence and incidence contact, current services and goal orientation, resources, priorities, barriers and potential solutions.

Key Stakeholder query is also relevant based on the commitment to networking and program partnering as an organizational goal for the RCMP. There is an opportunity to link services to more specialized community services to address issues such as victimization, recidivism and intervention programming. Establishing the link through shared interest and practice is critical in supporting police officer training in FASD issues.

The relatively recent nature of FASD research demonstrates a burgeoning field of evolving information on the incidence, prevalence, physiological and secondary issue review, emerging trends, and treatment strategies. The ability to incorporate this information is critical to establishing an accurate needs assessment and instrument development.

Literature research

RCMP Annual Balanced Scorecard Reports, government of Canada Crime Statistic Reports, Dept. of Justice Canada, annual reports, topical research of medical, social and educational databases on FASD for emerging trends and summary reports of current environment

Individual interviews

Administrative and policy analysts within the RCMP

Front line police officers

FASD affected clients

Key stakeholder representatives from criminal justice system, health,

education, social and community non-profit organizations

Group interviews – RCMP and key stakeholders


RCMP and stakeholder agencies to support a representative sampling of perspectives and practices related to FASD and criminal justice system services, barriers to service and implications of current practice

Assessment questions
According to Reigulth, accurately planning for instructional design requires the input and participation of stakeholders so that their “interests, values and perspectives can be accounted for in the instructional design and organizational changes" (1996, p. 18). The veracity of questions used to elicit the information from stakeholders most relevant to the need for programming is a critical first component in the design process.

For this project the major questions that the needs assessment will address include:

  • What barriers exist to incorporating services, strategies and support processes for FASD affected clients into existing RCMP services?

  • What barriers to implementing FASD-related services do police officers perceive or experience?

  • What services are available, accessible, and appropriate for police officers when encountering FASD-related clients?

There will be a number of different groups that hold varying and often dissimilar perspectives on services, strategies and supports in the field of FASD and criminal justice systems. Since the RCMP view the community as integral partners in their service plans and evaluation practices, each stakeholder will be queried about their perspective. The following stakeholders and anticipated key question follow:

RCMP officers:

  • What tools, strategies and/or resources does the RCMP already have in place to assist you in providing services to clients suspected of being FASD-affected?

  • What strategies could be used to provide the services to FASD-affected clients?

  • What are the barriers in attempting to provide services to FASD affected clients?

  • How might barriers be overcome?

Community support services:

  • Does the service you offer have the capacity to address all referrals for services?

  • What type of referral process is already in place that could be utilized if capacity to serve referrals is limited?

  • What are the barriers in attempting to provide support services for FASD affected clients who have had contact with law enforcement services?

  • How might barriers be overcome?

Other Data Sources

In addition to the key stakeholder interviews, there are a number of other sources that will yield equally beneficial data when considering emerging trends and summary reports of current environment and need in this area. Their collection will take the form of an intensive literature search of the following sources:

RCMP Annual Balanced Scorecard Report

Government of Canada Crime Statistic Reports

Dept. of Justice Canada,

Vulnerable Victim and Victim Service annual reports,

Topical research of medical, social and educational databases on FASD

FASD Law Enforcement Related Issues: Causes & Solutions

Consistent indicators of gaps in services to ‘vulnerable’ victims (FASD affected clients) emerged from within CJS and stakeholder networks. Based on the impacts of wrongful convictions, recidivism rates, the escalating nature of crimes and contact numbers with the same individuals whether as victims or offenders and challenges to providing appropriate services it was quickly established that individuals with FASD presented challenges to the system which were not adequately addressed under current policy and practice.

When considering a potential solution, it was apparent that the client (RCMP) has a number of practices in place to facilitate a systematic process to address training with this issue.

The non-instructional interventions and techniques already in place and available for implementation with this process included the use of:

Non-instructional intervention

Standard Application

Application to Issue

electronic performance support systems

CPIC (Canadian Police Information Centre

database) and PRC (Prior Record Check) database systems to check on client contact and status within criminal justice system

Notation of diagnosis on CPIC for known clients as alert for officer intervention

job aids

Youth Charter Rights Statement cards; recognition of client medical information card

Use of Youth notices and client information cards to support Charter Rights of vulnerable clients

job development –

reorganization of specialization of jobs and interest at the national and detachment levels

General and specific training in FASD issues, interventions and supports for general police population

personnel recruitment

well defined standards and process for hiring and advancement within the RCMP

Establishing baseline knowledge, skills and awareness around Charter Rights and vulnerable populations

personnel selection

choice of officer representation on community committees and within networked support systems such as Victim Support Services, community boards that address family service and other community organizational operations (mandated and non-government organizations

Requirements for each detachment to contain personnel expertise in Charter Rights, Victims Rights and processes for vulnerable populations

organizational performance improvement

CAPRA model and Balanced Scorecard evaluations

Area for specific tracking and assessment of performance in service to vulnerable populations

Smith and Ragan (2005) organize instruction as a process of content selection, sequencing and delivery. For this program, specific instructional strategies will be didactic and supplantive in nature when establishing foundational knowledge of FASD with later opportunities for generative strategies when problem solving around intervention and networking. Given the complex and specialized nature of the information and processes involved within the medical, legal and human services field, officers will require a solid understanding of the terms, definitions and characteristics to be able to apply more generative strategies during implementation of training. Advanced train the trainer programs for specialization in FASD and Law Enforcement will operate from a generative instructional model.

  • Defining FASD characteristics

  • Intervention strategies and considerations for communication, interviews, interrogations, investigation, and

  • service networking connections and planning

Part 2: Proposal Development

1. What course or program would meet the need(s) expressed or would address the problem? Describe the components of the course or program, i.e., the topics it will cover, and the major activities it will involve. (3 marks)
The RCMP have developed and maintain a virtual training program for new recruits in Regina, Saskatchewan as well as modularized online course training from Ottawa for officers in the field needing to update or increase their knowledge in various areas associated with RCMP service directorates. Current programming which is compatible with prior learning needed to successfully complete this topical learning include Charter of Rights and Freedoms training, Vulnerable Persons programs, CAPRA model for community partnering, and Young Offenders training. The specific addition of FASD training, particularly the recognition of characteristics and how to respond appropriately within law enforcement parameters to FASD would complete training with vulnerable populations.

This course, FASD and Law Enforcement, will be hosted online at the Regina Training Academy for new recruits as part of the training curriculum. It will also be offered through the Ottawa online branch for officers currently in the field to establish and enhance knowledge and practice with FASD affected clients. Courses will support cohort groupings within regional divisions and be offered twice per year. Upon completion, officers will be able to:

  • Define FASD and list other terminologies used to identify it;

  • Identify behavioural traits that are common to individuals with FASD;

  • Identify secondary characteristics common to individuals with FASD;

  • Understand the importance of diagnosis to client access of services;

  • Demonstrate steps to ensure Charter Rights are protected;

  • Demonstrate steps to take when obtaining a statement from an individual with FASD;

  • Plan effectively for the collection of facts/evidence related to the purpose and scope of the investigation, and additional legal authorities that may pertain to the situation;

  • Link with community partners to assist with appropriate FASD client referrals; and

  • Recognize the pivotal role law enforcement officers play in prevention and intervention activities in FASD education.

FASD and Law Enforcement: Components, topics, and activities
The proposed online course will be divided into the following modular units:



Time Table

I. About FASD

1) Terminology

8 hours

2) Identifying Features

3) A.L.A.R.M. Identification

4) Primary and Secondary Characteristics of FASD

5) Common Strengths: FASD

II. FASD and Law Enforcement

1) FASD profile

5 hours

2) Legal Process Issues

3) Re-planning Your Investigation

III. Community Networking

1) Networking Process

3 hours

2) Prevention Activities

3) Resources and Supports

This is a self directed course not intended to extend past 4 weeks:

• Week 1& 2:

Course overview; participant introductions; needs assessment;

important terminology

Module Objectives and Overview

Module 1: About FASD

Case Study Exercises

Concept and Skills Assessment

• Week 3:

Module Objectives and Overview

Module 2: FASD and Law Enforcement

Case Study Exercises

Concept and Skills Assessment

• Week 4:

Module Objectives and Overview

Module 3: Community Networking

Case Study Exercises

Concept and Skills Assessment

Course Certification Application and HRMIS Code Credit

Participants will engage in the following activities:

• Reading a variety of on-line texts and resources.

• Activities including on-line discussions and asynchronous threaded discussions; responding to questions based on readings or background knowledge or experience; completion of worksheets; reflective writing submissions demonstrating new knowledge and skill in relation to personal policing practices.
Each module will include a summary purpose statement and consist of a series of topical lessons. Each lesson will include a lesson summary, a set of lesson objectives, practice-based examples taken from RCMP case files and criminal court judgments regarding FASD precedents, a lesson summary, and a series of exercises on knowledge, skills and attitudes to monitor material mastery. Each module will contain a reading list of current research and justice practice literature to extend learning into practical areas for officers. Terminology associated with FASD as well as resources and supports will be included in each module as well as a separate appendix.
Course Materials:

FASD and Law Enforcement power point

Modular Lesson readings to accompany power point

RCMP case files – specific to module

Court case profiles – specific to module

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Learner Population and Characteristics

Smith and Ragan (2005) emphasize the characteristics of learners and of the materials they encounter when learning. The materials in this online learning unit will be specifically geared toward the aptitudes and prior knowledge of the learner. The disabilities literature will be specifically reframed to reference the processes and outcomes in terms of policing protocols and organizational goals for safer communities through collaborative efforts. The materials will be presented in a variety of mediums – print, video, graphic - to support learning preferences and will address the cognitive, social and affective domains of information integration through activities and assignments such as case studies, role plays, networking with community partners, and information reframing.

The Commissioner has stressed the importance of life-long learning. "Rapid change is now a constant feature of modern society, so what we know today may not help us tomorrow. That means career success depends upon a willingness to engage in life-long learning. If employees successfully adapt to new circumstances, so will the RCMP. It is therefore in the interest of the Force to invest in the professional development of employees."
General characteristics - The FASD and Law Enforcement course is targeted at both new recruits and existing police personnel - law enforcement officers, persons in training to become law enforcement officers and persons employed to work directly with front line police officers, (for example; victims’ service coordinators, guards, matrons, police communications or telecommunications employees and detachment clerks), and community-based aboriginal policing and band constable programs. In conjunction with law enforcement personnel training, this course will be opened up to community personnel working with FASD clients who wish to partner with RCMP personnel in their regions to implement a coordinated program of supports and referral to enhance law enforcement options for implementing effective responses to clients with FASD. As such, this learner population will have met the requirements for prior training and experience in related areas of vulnerable persons work, community development and networking experience, and a general intelligence for written and oral communication needed to participate in and complete the course successfully. In relation to stable similarities in learning as noted by Smith and Ragan (2005), this training with focus heavily on attitudinal and procedural learning. The two types of learners participating in the training, law enforcement and community supports, provides a dynamic mix between similarities/differences and stable/changing factors that can ultimately add a depth of content understanding to this complex material in a very short period of time.

When reviewing the stable differences for learners within this program, police officers will be the primary learning audience. As such, screening, testing and hiring practices ensure that the general population of officers have average or above average intelligence, and bring an aptitude of readiness to learn though cognitive styles will vary across such a large population of learners. Kinesthetic and interactive options for learning are embedded within contextually relevant environments where ever possible to accommodate this cognitive dimension.

The learners enrolling in this course will have strong personal and professional motivations for accessing this training. They will have the opportunity to implement the knowledge, skills and attitudes on a regular basis, thus reinforcing more effective policing practices and attitudes.

Psychosocial dimensions of learning for this group includes a relatively structured environment with clear hierarchical expectations and compliance. This learner population operates with a high degree of autonomy and self-confidence.

As a final observation regarding gender, ethnicity and racial groups, this learner population is intentionally diverse and varied to represent the populations and environments in which they work. Within this framework of diversity is the unifying organizational membership to the ‘RCMP family’.

The implications for instructional design with this learner population and particular material will dictate careful consideration of learning control, content pacing, relevance statements and context of practice items in order to develop the most effective learning designs and materials.

Course Context and Delivery Considerations

The contextual environment of the targeted law enforcement personnel (RCMP) is as widely varied as the communities in which they serve. This course is intended to serve not only as a learning tool for law enforcement, but act as a catalyst for community networking through shared training with community stakeholders. Community resource bases are determined in large part by population, social and cultural identity and geographical location. While rural and reserve communities may have fewer stakeholder resources and a less complex infrastructure of established programs and services, political and territorial interference in networking is reduced – greater willingness to work together and share resources.

Subject Area for this Assignment

The learning course is composed of three modules with sections that expand on the key topic of the unit. The first portion of the training is designed to support a basic understanding of FASD. It provides an overview of the terms used to describe fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, identifying features, informal assessment strategies, common characteristics and strengths that will assist you in your work with individuals affected by FASD.

Module 1 - A.L.A.R.M. will be the focus this training project and supports which will provide access to concrete strategies, tools and resources to aid in the identification of potential clients affected by FASD for front line law enforcement personnel. This lesson will focus on the introduction of A.L.A.R.M. as a relevant tool for front-line assessment of clients and examine each characteristic for defining traits, impacts and effective policing responses.

Module 1 - About FASD

1 Terminology

2 Identifying Features – Physical & Cognitive

3 A.L.A.R.M.

4 Identifying Characteristics

5 Primary & Secondary Characteristics

6 Common Strengths

Chudley, A., J. Conry, J.L. Cook, C. Loock,, T. Rosales, and N. LeBlanc. 2005. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder: Canadian guidelines for diagnosis. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 172 (5 suppl.), s1– s-21.

Conry J. and Fast, D.,(2000). Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and the Criminal Justice System, The Law Foundation of British Columbia.

Burd L. and Wentz T. 1997. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The North Dakota Experience. North Dakota Journal of Human Services 1(3) 14-19.
Grant, B. and P. MacPhearson, March 21-22, 2007. Measuring Economic Impacts of FASD in Canada. Paper presented at the National Roundtable for Measuring the Economic Impact of FASD in Canada, Ottawa.
Kaplan, R. S., &. Norton, D. P. (1996). The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action. Boston: Harvard Business School Press
Laporte, A.,T. McKee, J. Conry, A. Chudley, and Z. Lisakowski. 2002. FASD and the Law, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Ottawa, Ontario.
LaDue, R., R. Schacht, P. Tanner-Halverson, and M. McGowan. 1999. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: A Training Manual to Aid in Vocational Rehabilitation and Other Non-medical Services, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona.
MacPherson, P., A. Chudly, and B. Grant. March 2007. FASD: Screening and Estimating Incidence in an Adult Correctional Population. Paper presented at 2nd international Conference on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Research, Policy and Practice around the World, Victoria, BC Canada.
Markenstien, T. and C. Clark. 2002. Victimization of male inmates in vulnerable persons unit. Headingley Correctional Institute, Manitoba. Presented at the A Lifetime of Solutions: Yukon FASD Conference, Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. Unpublished.
Reigeluth, C. M. (Ed.). (1996). A new paradigm of ISD.Educational Technology, 36(3), 13-20.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police. (2005). Strategic Framework. Retrieved December 17, 2008, from

Royal Canadian Mounted Police. (2007). RCMP Priorities. Retrieved December 17, 2008, from

Royal Canadian Mounted Police. (2007). RCMP Employee’s Handbook: Learner Organization. Retrieved December 17, 2008, from
Smith, P.L. & Ragan, T.J. (2005). Instructional design (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Smith, P.L. & Ragan, T.J. (2005). Instructional design (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 44-46).
Streissguth A., H.Barr, J. Kogan, and F. Bookstein. 1996. Understanding the occurrence of secondary disabilities in clients with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and fetal alcohol effects (FAE). Final report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Seattle: University of Washington School of Medicine.
Streissguth, A and J. Kanter, September 4-6, 1996, The Challenge of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Overcoming Secondary Disabilities, Proceedings from the International FAS Conference in Seattle, Washington.
Streissguth, A, and K. O’Malley 2000. Neuropsychiatric Implications and Long Term Consequence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Seminars in Clinical Neuropsychiatry Vol. 5 No. 3 page 185

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