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Bridging Two Worlds: Youth Involved in the Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Systems, A Policy Guide for Improving Outcomes

NCJ Number
Date Published
262 pages
This guide presents information for improving the transition of crossover youth involved in both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
This guide is intended for use policymakers at all levels of government to increase the level of collaboration among the child welfare, juvenile justice, and other youth-serving systems to improve outcomes for crossover youth and their families as they transition back in to society. The guide was developed through the work of experts who gathered for a conference to address the needs of all young adults, but especially those of crossover youth. The guide discusses the values, belief, and philosophy that are the basis for the guide's agenda. Included in these are the following: the purpose of child serving systems is to understand and meet children's unique needs; to accept that children belong in families; to understand that culture, race, and ethnicity of children and families must inform policy and practice, to realize the intentional and meaningful involvement of families and youth in policy and practice development and all service delivery and governance is expected and desirable, to realize that service development and utilization must be driven by a common set of outcomes and be informed by data and evidence, and finally to understand that all children, youth, and families deserve equal protections and access to services regardless of jurisdiction. Recommended policy actions are included in the guide and enumerated for courts and agencies, and local, State/Tribal, and Federal policymakers. These recommendations are followed by a section that provides information on building multisystem approaches in child welfare and juvenile justice systems. The final section of the document contains the proceedings from the Wingspread Conference held in May 2008 that addressed the needs of crossover youth transitioning out of child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Tables, references, and appendixes