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.
This issue brief, authored by CJJR’s Amber Farn, examines research on structured decision-making processes and juvenile diversion programs, with a focus on using risk and needs assessment tools and disposition matrices to effectively divert youth from the juvenile justice system. The paper also highlights the work of system officials from Fairfax County, Virginia, who facilitated collaboration across multiple youth-serving agencies and used structured decision-making tools to reduce racial and ethnic disparities at the point of system referral.
This white paper co-authored by CJJR and the CSG Justice Center provides a roadmap of six innovative strategies that states and localities can follow to make sweeping changes to their juvenile justice systems. Facing stubbornly high recidivism rates and limited resources, juvenile justice systems need to reconsider foundational questions regarding who is supervised and served by the system; how those youth are supervised and served; and to what extent agencies and individuals are held accountable for system performance. To begin tackling these questions, CJJR and the CSG Justice Center conducted interviews and focus groups with nearly 50 researchers, national experts, and system leaders to identify innovative ideas for building upon recent system improvements by reorienting juvenile justice systems to improve public safety and outcomes for youth.
This bulletin, authored by CJJR’s Amber Farm, focuses on research, strategies, and local reform efforts aimed at reducing school-based referrals to law enforcement and school-based arrests. It also highlights promising examples of school-justice partnerships developed by CJJR’s Certificate Program Fellows through their local Capstone Project reform efforts. These partnerships are designed to create safe and supportive learning environments, improve school responses to disruptive student behaviors, and minimize youth’s juvenile justice system involvement.
Over the past several decades there has been a growing body of research evidence on what works to reduce recidivism and other negative outcomes for youth in the justice system. Equally important has been the development of structured decision-making tools, including risk and needs assessment instruments and disposition matrices. When combined with evidence-based programs and services, these tools can be integrated as components of an evidence-based decision-making (EBDM) platform to support decisions and improve outcomes for youth at every stage of juvenile justice processing.
This bulletin, co-authored by Jill Adams and Madeline Silva, describes the components of the EBDM platform implemented by jurisdictions involved in two recent CJJR demonstration projects, and summarizes key findings from a full report entitled “Juvenile Justice System Improvement: Implementing an Evidence-Based Decision-Making Platform”.
Creating an Integrated Continuum of Care for Justice-Involved Youth: How Sacramento County Collaborates Across Systems
Sacramento County is an excellent example of a jurisdiction that, in the past ten years, has strived to develop a more collaborative and integrated continuum of care for youth involved in the juvenile justice and related systems of care.
This brief, authored by CJJR’s Amber Farn and Michael Umpierre, highlights several of the exceptional multi-system reform efforts happening in the county, including: the creation of a dedicated court docket, a memorandum of understanding, and a screening tool to better serve Commercially Sexually Exploited Children; a diversion program that addresses justice-involved youth’s mental health needs; environmental and programming improvements for youth in secure custody; and the implementation of the Crossover Youth Practice Model, a multi-agency initiative created to improve outcomes for youth involved in both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
Crossover cases require a high level of collaboration, coordination, and information sharing between parties. They also tend to be resource intensive with high levels of instability and complexity, all while disproportionately affecting youth of color.
This issue brief discusses the role that Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) play in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems and how they are involved in the lives of crossover youth. It also describes ways in which the Crossover Youth Practice Model (CYPM) has engaged CASA volunteers and organizations to better serve crossover youth, and provides recommendations on how to best engage with CASA volunteers. This brief is the fourth in a series that addresses various important issues faced by those youth who are dually-involved and the systems that serve them.
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.
Research shows that a high-quality education experience is critical in facilitating youth’s long-term well-being, as the education system provides youth with necessary supports, resources, and skills to become productive members of the society. Unfortunately, literature also suggests that youth involved in the juvenile justice systems often do not have access to the same educational opportunities as their non-delinquent counterparts and tend to struggle with the transition to adulthood. To help systems address the education needs of justice-involved youth, CJJR authored an issue brief, Education and Interagency Collaboration: A Lifeline for Justice-Involved Youth.
This issue brief reviews research on education for system-involved youth, details recent efforts to improve education outcomes for the population, and highlights the Washington Education Advocate Program, a school-based transition program that focuses on bridging the education achievement gap for youth involved in the juvenile justice system in the state of Washington.
A quality education is an invaluable asset in a child’s life. Educational attainment is an important factor in improving a child’s future income, health status, employment opportunities, and housing stability (Levin, Belfield, Muennig, & Rouse, 2007; Cutler & Lleras-Muney, 2006; Lochner & Moretti, 2001). All children deserve access to a quality education. Unfortunately, children who are involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems face a number of significant challenges when it comes to achieving positive educational outcomes. Policy-makers, educators, and child-serving agencies need to be aware of these challenges and make appropriate efforts to support improving the educational outcomes of this unique population.
To aid in these efforts, this issue brief discusses: the relationships between childhood maltreatment, delinquency, and educational outcomes; the ways in which the CYPM addresses educational outcomes; and how jurisdictions that have employed the CYPM have sought to improve educational outcomes for crossover youth. This brief is the third in a series that addresses various important issues faced by those crossover youth who are dually-involved and the systems that serve them.
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.
The Youth in Custody Practice Model (YICPM) serves as a guide to best practice in youth corrections, identifying over 70 essential policy and practice elements and related outcomes that the model is designed to help participating agencies achieve. Many of these elements and outcomes will not be new to the reader of the YICPM, but what will be groundbreaking is the way they have been pulled together into an overarching construct, with the expectation that they will be implemented in a comprehensive fashion.
The guide is authored by four outstanding leaders in the juvenile justice field: Dr. Kelly Dedel, Dr. Monique Marrow, Fariborz Pakseresht, and Michael Umpierre, who also served as lead editor.
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.
Out-of-home placement (OOHP) refers to the removal and placement of a youth from his or her family environment and into an alternative setting. OOHPs occur in both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, but under different circumstances. A better understanding of the relationship between OOHP and delinquent behavior would allow agencies to: better target those most at risk of juvenile justice involvement, more effectively utilize in-home and community-based services; inform placement decision-making in the child welfare system; and further educate professionals in both systems to encourage communication and to change practices.
Thus, the objective of this brief is to describe: the role of out-of-home placements in the child welfare system and juvenile justice system and the importance of reducing their inappropriate use; the relationship of OOHPs and delinquency; the “child welfare bias” that a youth with a child welfare system history may face upon contact with the juvenile justice system; the ways in which the Crossover Youth Practice Model (CYPM) addresses OOHP; and how one jurisdiction has addressed OOHP through the implementation of the CYPM. This brief is the second in a series that addresses various important issues faced by those crossover youth who are dually-involved and the systems that serve them.
The Crossover Youth Practice Model (CYPM) was developed by CJJR to improve outcomes for youth who are dually-involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems: crossover youth. The model uses a research-based approach to assist child welfare, juvenile justice and related agencies in adopting policies and practices that better address the needs of these youth and improve their life outcomes. The primary authors of the Crossover Youth Practice Model are Lorrie Lutz and Macon Stewart, with contributions from Dr. Denise Herz and Lyman Legters. Shay Bilchik edited and provided guidance for the document.
Behavioral health issues, which include mental health and substance use disorders, can significantly challenge the safety and well-being of youth and their families. These risks may be particularly elevated for crossover youth. Due to the potential long-term impact of adolescent behavioral health issues on development and social functioning, it is in the interest of policy-makers and practitioners to monitor and address the behavioral health status of youths in these systems (Keller et al., 2010). In order to assist child-serving practitioners in these efforts, this issue brief will discuss: the relationship between behavioral health and crossover youth, the ways in which the Crossover Youth Practice Model (CYPM) addresses behavioral health, and how one jurisdiction has utilized the CYPM to address behavioral health outcomes. This brief is the first in a series that addresses various important issues faced by crossover youth and the systems that serve them.
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.