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Traversing Two Systems: An Assessment of Crossover Youth in Maryland

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2014
154 pages
In an effort to begin building a knowledge base on youth in Maryland who have at some point in their lives been involved in both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems ("crossover" youth), this study interviewed 26 State and local officials and surveyed a representative sample of 164 stakeholders working with crossover youth.
The review of State and local practices with such youth identified preliminary signs of progress within a general context of inattention to their distinctive risk, needs, and treatment. Consistent with prior studies, quantitative analyses that compared samples of crossover youth (n=526) and delinquency-only youth (n=601) showed that crossover youth were chronically involved in the juvenile justice system, having their first arrest at an earlier age and with more arrests and referrals than non-crossover youth. The most stark differences between crossover and delinquency-only groups were on objective indicators of mental health needs. Analyses of Baltimore City crossover youth (n=200) and a dependency-only sample (n=200) determined that the crossover group had different and more persistent family problems, more out-of-home placements, and longer length of placement. Regarding Maryland's response to this issue, several State-led initiatives are promising, as they have incorporated practices promoted in the crossover-youth practice literature; however, none of the programs specifically address this group. Local efforts have involved information-sharing, collaborative case reviews, and joint attendance at court hearings on crossover cases. Approximately 60 percent of survey respondents reported using routines for identifying crossover youth, providing cross-system notifications on proceedings, and holding family and multidisciplinary team meetings for crossover cases. The study findings indicate a consensus need for more focused efforts on crossover youth in Maryland. Extensive tables and figures and 68 references

Date Published: August 1, 2014