The Importance of Interagency Collaboration for Crossover Youth

Date01 October 2017
Published date01 October 2017
Subject MatterResearch Note
Research Note
The Importance of Interagency
Collaboration for Crossover
Youth: A Research Note
Emily M. Wright
, Ryan Spohn
, Joselyne Chenane
and Nick Juliano
Crossover or dually involved youth are youth enmeshed in the child welfare system (CWS) and
juvenile justice system (JJS). Given their dual status and high needs, attention has recently focused on
how to best respond to them in an integrated, interagency fashion. The Crossover Youth Practice
Model (CYPM) is designed to facilitate interagency collaboration between the CWS and JJS in order
to enhance services and diversion to these youths. This study reports on the benefits and challenges
that the JJS and CWS, as well as the personnel working within them, experience by participating in a
CYPM effort in a Midwestern county, and provides recommendations for continued improvements
in interagency collaborations for crossover youth.
crossover youth, dually adjudicated, juvenile justice, child welfare, qualitative
Children enmeshed in the juvenile justice system (JJS) or the child welfare system (CWS) are high
risk for developing detrimental behavioral, educational, and health-related outcomes, but those who
are involved in both systems may be at even greater risk for a wide range of short- and long-term
problems (Ryan, Williams, & Courtney, 2013; Widom & Maxfield, 2001). These ‘‘dually involved’’
or ‘‘crossover’’ youths are higher risk for exposure to violence and/or abuse, familial dysfunction,
substance use, congregate or group home placement, school dropout, poor grades, truancy, mental
health and/or substance use problems, and adult criminality (e.g., Halemba, Siegel, Lord, &
Zawacki, 2004; Herz & Ryan, 2008; Widom & Maxfield, 2001; Young, Bowley, Bilanain, & Ho,
2015). They are also at risk to incur more juvenile, adult, and violent arrests (Ryan et al., 2013;
Widom & Maxfield, 2001) and to be perceived as high risk by system personnel (Morris &
Freundlich, 2004). It is not surprising, therefore, that they are highly represented at deep levels of
the JJS (e.g., comprising out-of-home placement cases), and they tend to receive harsher sanctions or
School of Criminology and Criminal Justice,Nebraska Center for Justice Research, University of Nebraska,Omaha, NE, USA
Father Flanagan’s Boys’ Home, Boys Town, NE, USA
Corresponding Author:
Emily M. Wright, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Nebraska Center for Justice Research, University of Nebraska,
6001 Dodge Street, 218 CPACS, Omaha, NE 68182, USA.
Youth Violence and JuvenileJustice
2017, Vol. 15(4) 481-491
ªThe Author(s) 2016
Reprints and permission:
DOI: 10.1177/1541204016686663

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