CJJR sponsors papers developed from a cross systems perspective on cutting edge issues in the fields of juvenile justice, child welfare and related systems of care. Past papers have focused on crossover youth, racial and ethnic disproportionality, and improving educational outcomes, among other topics. The Center hosts symposia to facilitate discussion about the papers among policymakers and practitioners from around the country.
A Roadmap for Change: How Juvenile Justice Facilities Can Better Serve Youth with Mental Health Issues
Over the past decade, the juvenile crime rate has dropped significantly and the number of youth in the “deep end” of the system (i.e., those committed to correctional agencies and placed in residential facilities) has decreased. These positive advances in the juvenile justice system are bringing a vulnerable population into sharp focus: adolescents suffering from mental illness. System officials around the U.S. report that what was once a mix of low-, moderate- and high-risk youth placed in juvenile correctional facilities is now a population of mostly high-risk youth. Studies consistently find that 65 to 70% of youth in such placements have at least one diagnosable mental health issue.
This article recommends specific improvements to certain policies of the juvenile justice system pertaining to youth with mental health conditions in order to promote more positive outcomes.
An evaluation of the Crossover Youth Practice Model (CYPM): Recidivism outcomes for maltreated youth involved in the juvenile justice system
This study examines youth recidivism (reoffending) outcomes of the Crossover Youth Practice Model (CYPM) in an urban county in Minnesota. Crossover youth are defined as maltreated youth who have engaged in delinquency. Decreased recidivism is one of the primary outcomes targeted by the CYPM. Previous internal, exploratory research on recidivism indicates positive outcomes for CYPM youth. In the study, the authors use a quasi-experimental, post-test only design with independent historical and contemporaneous comparison samples. The authors link state-level data from the State Court Information System with the Child Protection Administrative Data and the Automated Report Student System. Youth receiving CYPM services were less likely to recidivate than propensity score matched youth receiving “services as usual” even when controlling for location, time and other key covariates. Study limitations and implications are discussed.
Family involvement is an essential element at all points of the juvenile justice system. From arrest to probation, placement, and reentry, families should be respected as partners by the justice system and involved in decisions about their children. For youth in the juvenile justice system, family is best defined broadly to include biological family members, extended and chosen family (including godparents and foster siblings), and other important people such as mentors, teachers, and coaches. Research on the role of family involvement is growing and reflects what juvenile justice staff know through their own experience—youth with strong and diverse support systems have better outcomes.
This white paper reviews the literature exploring the relationship between family contact and short- and long-term outcomes for youth in the juvenile justice system, and identifies ways that agencies—from police through reentry staff—can better engage families in ways that promote both personal contact and active involvement in case assessment, planning, and management.
Although research has oft-documented a maltreatment–delinquency link, the effect of involvement in—and timing of—child welfare system involvement on offending has received less attention. In this study, the authors examine whether the timing of child welfare involvement has differential effects on recidivism of deep-end juvenile offenders (youth who have been adjudicated delinquent by the court and placed in juvenile justice residential programs). The study uses a large, diverse sample of 12,955 youth completing juvenile justice residential programs between 1 January 2010 and 30 June 2013 in Florida (13 % female, 55 % Black, 11 % Hispanic). Additionally, the authors explore the direct effects of childhood traumatic events on delinquency, as well as their indirect effects through child welfare involvement using structural equation modeling. The findings indicate that adverse childhood experiences fail to exert a direct effect on recidivism, but do exhibit a significant indirect effect on recidivism through child welfare involvement, which is itself associated with recidivism. This means that while having exposures to more types of childhood traumatic events does not, in and of itself, increase the likelihood of re-offending, effects of such experiences operate through child welfare placement.
Children involved in the child welfare system are more likely than other children to be arrested or referred for delinquent offenses. In 2011, the National Council on Crime & Delinquency (NCCD) developed an actuarial assessment, the Structured Decision Making (SDM) delinquency prevention screening assessment, to help the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) identify children at higher risk of subsequent delinquency than other children. The assessment was initially piloted in the fall of 2012 as part of the Delinquency Prevention Pilot (DPP). The following report provides an empirical and theoretical basis for the project, describes the development and implementation of the pilot, and discusses the lessons learned from the process. The report was funded by CJJR through a grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.
Addressing the Needs of Multi-System Youth: Strengthening the Connection between Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice
Youth known to both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems–commonly referred to as crossover youth–tend to follow a stealth-like pathway between these two systems. This paper provides 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 readers 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.
Safety, Fairness, & Stability For Youth and Families: Recommendations to Strengthen Federal Agency Support of Family Engagement Efforts
As a follow-up to Safety, Fairness, Stability: Repositioning Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare to Engage Families and Communities, CJJR and its partners convened a group of federal agency representatives, family advocates, youth advocates, community supporters, and local juvenile justice, child welfare, and judicial leaders to discuss how family engagement can be strengthened at all levels of government. The recommendations from this convening serve as a platform for all entities of government to build or strengthen their work in this area.
Safety, Fairness, Stability: Repositioning Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare to Engage Families and Communities
Connections to family and community are often severed, at least temporarily, as a result of a youth’s involvement in the juvenile justice, child welfare, and/or mental and behavioral health systems. Ensuring that these connections are not severed permanently, or are maintained in the first place, begins by engaging families and communities. This paper recognizes that such connections must be supported in a manner that allows families and communities to provide a sense of stability and permanency in a youth’s life and provide the life-long connections that youth will need as they transition into adulthood.
Improving the Effectiveness of Juvenile Justice Programs: A New Perspective on Evidence-Based Practice
This paper presents a new comprehensive approach to evidence-based practice that can help juvenile justice systems enhance the effectiveness of their interventions and achieve more positive outcomes for the youth they serve.
Addressing the Unmet Educational Needs of Children and Youth in the Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Systems
May 2010 (Second edition released 2012)
This paper outlines potential strategies, programs and resources that will enable political and agency leaders, policymakers, and practitioners to act collaboratively across systems to effectively improve the educational outcomes for youth known to multiple systems of care.
In reaction to the conditions Dr. David Olds saw in Baltimore, Maryland daycare centers during his undergraduate education, he and his colleagues developed and piloted a home visitation program in Elmira, New York starting in 1977. After two more trials, the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) was launched in 1996, and today the program exists in 25 states around the country. This paper provides an overview of the Nurse-Family Partnership, a comparison to other home visitation programs, and characteristics of effective home visitation programs.
Supporting Youth in Transition to Adulthood: Lessons Learned from Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice
This paper outlines potential strategies, programs and resources that can enable political and agency leaders, policymakers, and practitioners to act collaboratively across systems and to effectively address the issues that crossover youth present when they transition out of care.
Racial and Ethnic Disparity and Disproportionality in Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice: A Compendium
Overrepresentation of children of color in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems has been statistically proven in various studies over the years. This compendium includes articles that establish a common language across child serving systems to describe the various problems associated with this overrepresentation and make recommendations for the future.
Bridging Two Worlds: Youth Involved in the Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Systems, A Policy Guide for Improving Outcomes
There is clear evidence that abused and neglected youth in the child welfare system are at higher risk for subsequent involvement with the juvenile justice system. This publication provides information about this population of “crossover youth” (youth known to both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems), and recommends a policy agenda.