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Dual System Youth: At the Intersection of Child Maltreatment and Delinquency

Barbara Tatem Kelley, Social Science Analyst, National Institute of Justice ; Denise Herz, Ph.D., California State University - Los Angeles; Carly Dierkhising, Ph.D., California State University - Los Angeles; Richard N. White, J.D., Magistrate, Mahoning County Juvenile Court, Ohio

Across the country, child welfare and juvenile justice systems now recognize that youth involved in both systems (i.e., dual system youth) are a vulnerable population who often go unrecognized because of challenges in information-sharing and cross system collaboration. In light of these challenges, national incidence rates of dual system youth are not known. To address this gap in knowledge, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention awarded the presenters a grant to: (1) propose a methodology to generate a national estimate of dual system youth, their trajectories leading to multiple system involvement, and the key characteristics/trajectories of this population; and (2) identify the successes and challenges associated with cross-system collaboration and information sharing in jurisdictions.

This presentation will summarize the work of this study as well as continuing research in the area. Specifically, presenters will discuss the recommended terminology for the various permutations of dual system youth and their pathways to system involvement. The outcomes of three feasibility studies using linked administrative data from Cook County, Cuyahoga County, and New York City will be presented, which include summary profiles of youth and incidence rates of dual system youth based on pathway to system involvement. Best practices for dual system youth and cross-system collaboration will then be discussed, including a description of a best practices rubric that can be used to capture the use of best practices for dual system youth within jurisdictions and specific examples of implementing these practices from the field. Recommendations for reducing and addressing dual system involvement will also be discussed.

Date Published: December 3, 2020