As a result of extensive cross-system planning, Alameda County, California launched the Crossover Youth Practice Model (CYPM) this summer. The CYPM, developed by CJJR, is designed to improve outcomes for youth who have been or are at risk of becoming involved with both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
The stakeholders involved in the CYPM launch were all vital to the process. Parents like Brejea Colthirst were at the forefront of this endeavor. “As a parent who has gone through the system and is now a Lead Parent Advocate with Alameda County’s Parent Engagement Program, it was such an honor to be a part of the CYPM and making sure the parent’s voice and perspective was heard,” said Colthirst. “Both Probation and Social Services agencies being on the same page and sending notifications to the families will help lessen the crossing over of youth.”
Local youth were also actively involved in planning for the launch of the Model. Leeosha Nelson, a fellow with Alameda County’s youth advocate program was one of several youth who participated in the CYPM implementation. “Being a part of the CYPM, I witnessed people from different fields coming together in support of making the lives of crossover youth appreciated and respected,” Nelson said about her experience. “I enjoyed the openness and flexibility of making changes to better the lives of youth in care and I’m looking forward to crossover youth being able to have a stable support team and having their services known and available to them.”
Youth advocates also assisted in writing a guide to orient youth in child welfare to the Juvenile Justice Center. This guide will be distributed to all youth who come in contact with the Juvenile Justice Center at the initial point of crossing over. Historically, Alameda County averages between 70-80 foster youth annually who have some contact with the juvenile justice system. With the implementation of the CYPM, the hope is that those numbers decrease and those youth that do “cross over” experience improved outcomes through effective cross-system collaboration and engagement. As noted by Child Welfare Program Manager Brittany Walker Pettigrew, the very act of sitting together and learning from each other served as its own catalyst for change.
Alameda County is the fourth county in the State of California to implement the CYPM. They join a growing number of sites nationwide that are implementing the Crossover Youth Practice Model.