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Addressing the Needs of Multi-System Youth: Strengthening the Connection Between Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice

NCJ Number
Denise Herz Ph.D.; Philip Lee; Lorrie Lutz; Macon Stewart; John Tuell; Janet Wiig
Date Published
March 2012
84 pages
This report from the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform examines the need for strengthening the connection between child welfare agencies and the juvenile justice system to better serve children who are involved across both systems.
This report provides information for professionals from both child welfare agencies and the juvenile justice system who work with children involved in both systems. The intent of the report is to strengthen the connection between these two systems to provide more effective treatment and assistance to these youth. Previous research has shown that children who are maltreated are more likely to engage in delinquent behavior and become involved in the juvenile justice system, and that a disproportionate number of these youth are female and children of color. This paper examines advances that have been made in research that focuses on effective ways for working with crossover youth. The paper is divided into five main sections. The first section, Introduction, discusses the problem of crossover youth, challenges to serving this population, current multi-system reform initiatives, and the work of the Systems Integration Initiative and the Crossover Youth Practice Model. The second section provides information on understanding the unique experiences of dually-involved, or crossover youth, while the third section examines the failure in the past to address the needs of dually-involved youth. The fourth section discusses methodologies for addressing the systemic factors impacting dually-involved youth, while the fifth section examines new ways for improving services to dually-involved youth. Appendixes and references