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

Macon Stewart, one of the author's of this paper, was a recent keynote speaker at the 2012 Together We Can Conference. 

Georgetown Public Policy Institute's Center for Juvenile Justice Reform (CJJR) and Robert F. Kennedy Children's Action Corps (RFK) are delighted to announce the release of Addressing the Needs of Multi-System Youth: Strengthening the Connection between Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice, a paper co-authored by Denise Herz, Phil Lee, Lorrie Lutz, Macon Stewart, John Tuell, and Janet Wiig. The paper was released at a symposium held at Georgetown University on March 1, 2012.

Youth known to both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems--commonly referred to as crossover or dually-involved youth--tend to go undetected, following a stealth-like pathway between these two systems. As a group of children and youth who suffer from the effects of childhood trauma, they are often underserved as they move from one system to another, experiencing the negative consequences of infrequent cross system coordination related to case planning and the delivery of needed services. Little was known about this population, especially the factors that impacted their system experience.

Fortunately, researchers have been working to better understand the trajectory many crossover youth follow between systems and into adulthood. As a result, we now know much more about their characteristics as a population and the factors associated with their crossing over. The purpose of this paper is to provide a framework for jurisdictions to utilize in their efforts to better serve crossover youth. In this regard, the authors' hope that the content presented will help develop a better understanding of how to prevent youth from crossing over between systems and ensure that all youth who are served by both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems experience them in a manner that provides for their safety, well being and permanence, while also ensuring public safety.