The Development of the EES

The Montana Experiences and Expression Screener (EES) was developed with two distinct domains: (1) Experiences also referred to as “potentially traumatic events” (PTEs); and (2) Expressions which are series of questions focuses on the symptoms of PTSD and depression. The Connecticut Trauma Screen (CTS) constructed by Lang and Connell (2017) served as a primary template for creation of the Montana EES.

To aid with construction of the Montana EES, the Montana Board of Crime Control (MBCC) and the Criminology Research Group (CRG) convened the Vision 21 Screening Tool Workgroup, a collaborative body comprised of representatives from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS), the National Native Children’s Trauma Center (NNCTC), a licensed clinical social worker, the executive director of a youth service organization, a registered nurse, a family law attorney, the National Child Trauma Stress Network (NCTSN), and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ). Community focus groups and a service provider survey conducted by the LSOC team further informed instrument construction.

The workgroup used several resources, in addition to their professional experience, to select each question found on the EES. Resources that heavily influenced the questions are listed and described below.

  1. The Child Trauma Screener (CTS)
    • All questions on the CTS can be found on the EES.
    • Previously known as the Connecticut Trauma Screener validated by:
    • Lang, J. M., & Connell, C. M. (2017). Development and validation of a brief trauma screening measure for children: The Child Trauma Screen. Psychological trauma: theory, research, practice, and policy, 9(3), 390.
    • Lang, J. M., & Connell, C. M. (2018). The Child Trauma Screen: A Follow‐Up Validation. Journal of traumatic stress, 31(4), 540-548.
  2. Finkelhor, Turner, Shattuck, Hamby, and Kracke (2015)
    • The OJJDP in partnership with Center for Disease Control (CDC) created the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence (NatSCEVI) which is the first comprehensive national survey of children’s past-year and lifetime exposure to violence, crime, and abuse in home, school, and community across children youth from ages 1 month to 17 years.
    • Nationally representative sample. Survey given every two years.
    • Workgroup used the NatSCEVI to determine categories of experiences that would be important to collect on the EES.
  3. Criteria for Depression and PTSD base on DSM-5, the Centers for Disease Control 2016 (CDC), and by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) in 2017
    • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition
    • In the U.S. the DSM-5 is the principal authority for psychiatric diagnoses.
    • CDC
    • NCTSN
  4. Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) tool
    • In 2014 CANS was required by Montana law to be given to youth with serious emotional disturbance (SED) enrolled in services in the CSCT program. This is no longer law.
    • CANS is extremely comprehensive and many questions from the EES were informed by the CANS.
  5. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) questionnaire
  6. Cuyahoga DCI
  7. Pediatric Intake Form
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