Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2010, $275,991)
Juvenile justice researchers and criminal justice practitioners have long been aware of the challenges in effective and efficient service delivery for troubled youth and their families. These challenges are embodied by the persistently negative life trajectory for many crossover youth, who are youth involved in both dependency and delinquency systems. Researchers at the University of Maryland, College Park, (UM) and the Maryland Judiciary propose to engage in a research-practitioner partnership to enhance the Judiciarys role in child welfare reform in Maryland, to develop a model for integrating the Judiciary into cross-system collaborations, and to prepare Maryland to be on the forefront of systematic and broad-reaching electronically-based case management systems that inform comprehensive service delivery for the most troubled of America's youth. The researcher-practitioner partnership between UM and the Maryland Judiciary aims to collect systematic data on crossover youth to identify needs and gaps in services, to evaluate the landscape of interagency partnerships, and identify a model of collaboration. Specifically, this project will use court records, interviews, surveys, and archival documents to study crossover youth and interagency collaborations. Quantitative and qualitative analysis will be used to provide insight into the prevalence and characteristics of crossover youth, as well as to identify needs and gaps in current service delivery. The researchers will also identify evidence-based and promising practices to address gaps in the current system. Furthermore, the study will identify data elements related to crossover youth for inclusion in the electronic case management system currently being developed by the Judiciary.
The proposed project will capitalize on two emerging statewide electronic monitoring systems to enhance research and practitioner awareness of the prevalence and needs of crossover youth. The first electronic system, a comprehensive case management system, is currently being developed by the Judiciary. The Judiciary will implement the tool for statewide use within five years. A goal for this system is to serve as a comprehensive resource for identifying youths' needs and services, and the researcher will assist this effort through the proposed project. The second electronic system is the Department of Juvenile Service's (DJS) statewide Maryland Comprehensive Assessment and Service Planning (MCASP) data system. Activated in 2010, this tool offers a comprehensive picture of the needs and treatment service plans for DJS youth.