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An Assessment of Dual System Data and Practices Capacity across Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Systems

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Los Angeles
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $2,000,000)

Increasingly, research has documented the experiences and characteristics of young people who have contact with and/or involvement with both the child welfare (CW) and juvenile justice (JJ) systems. Although studies point to the prevalence of dual system involvement, a nationally representative estimate does not exist. In 2015, OJJDP funded the Dual Status Youth Design Study (DSYDS) to explore the feasibility of a national estimate. The DSYDS recommended using linked administrative data from jurisdictions selected using a census + sample hybrid approach but added a cautionary note about the limited data capacity of CW and JJ data to support linked administrative data analysis after selection. The goal of the proposed study is to build on the work and recommendations of the DSYDS by producing in-depth assessments of CW and JJ system and data structures and capacity across the nation, along with an analysis of the use of best practices for improving experiences and outcomes among youth who come in contact with both the CW and JJ systems. The study is broken into four phases aligning with the following research questions: 

Phase 1: How are CW and JJ systems and data structured across the nation? 

Phase 2: What is the capacity of jurisdictions to support administrative linked data analysis to 

produce a dual system prevalence estimate, document dual system practices, and assess the effectiveness of dual system practices? 

Phase 3: What can we learn from jurisdictions that have varying levels of capacity for dual 

system data and services? 

Phase 4: How do the results of this study inform future efforts to improve data capacity and to 

better address the needs of dual system youth across the nation?  

In Phase 1, a landscape assessment will be used to compile information on the structure of child welfare and juvenile justice systems and data in 50 states and DC into a System and Data Structure Inventory. In Phase 2, surveys and interviews will be conducted with selected sites by applying the census + sample hybrid sampling approach to a sampling frame informed by the inventory. The data collected in this process will identify the data and practice capacity of jurisdictions across the nation. In Phase 3, in-depth case studies will be produced from four sites. Research briefs will summarize key findings from each Phase and ultimately inform a conference held for practitioners, policymakers, and young people with lived experience in Phase 4. CA/NCF

Date Created: September 20, 2023