How does juvenile justice integrate with other child and adolescent service systems? Youth who are involved in more than one system require special attention and coordination. The first topic explored for this area explores the challenges presented by youth with dual-status in the child protection and juvenile justice systems.  These are youth who require protection from neglectful or abusive parents or caretakers and are concurrently or subsequently in trouble with the law. Understanding how states share information and work constructively together when dual-status youth are identified has emerged since the early 2000s as a prominent juvenile justice improvement issue.  However, little is known about the landscape of strategies applied in the states and what data (if any) is reported on an annual basis to explore the issue nationally or within specific states.

Agency integration

The way states organize the administration of child welfare and juvenile justice varies widely across the country and may influence a state’s ability to coordinate services between the two systems.

When states centralize administration of child welfare and juvenile justice through a single state-level department, as is the case in seven states, structural barriers to coordination may be reduced. 

In almost one half of the states, one or more aspects of the child protection or the core juvenile justice intervention systems are decentralized.  

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Single agency integration:

Integration of child welfare and juvenile corrections responsibility in one agency.

Umbrella agency integration (separate division/offices):

A general public welfare agency overseeing child welfare and juvenile corrections, often in separate divisions.

Separate state-level centralized agencies:

Separate state-level organizations responsible for child welfare, juvenile corrections and probation.

One or all are decentralized:

One or more of the child welfare, or juvenile probation responsibility is organized locally.

    VT NH MA RI CT NJ DE MD DC AL AK AZ AR CA CO FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA SC SD TN TX UT VA WA WV WI WY

    State coordination

    As part of the JJGPS project state-level juvenile justice professionals were interviewed using a semi-structured protocol during the winter of 2013-14. During the work, dual-status youth were defined as youth with either current or past involvement in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. The following broad view themes were identified with the interviews.

    • Data sharing: Facilitated through the use of statewide information systems allowing for consistent data sharing between systems. At least five states—Delaware, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Vermont—have a single automated information systems housing both child welfare and a broad range of juvenile justice data.
    • Committees or advisory groups: Multidisciplinary groups that have a formal status and mission of improving systems integration on behalf of dual-status youth. This is more common in decentralized states.
    • Formal interagency memorandums of understanding (MOUs): Collaborative agreements to guide systems integration efforts. Nine states—Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Washington, and Wisconsin—have both formal and informal agreements.
    • Informal agency agreements: Commonly based on historical practice, mutual trust, and recognition of the need to collaborate in order to serve dual-status youth.
    • State and/or court rules: Rules that mandate systems integration efforts. This was more common in decentralized states. One-third of decentralized states had these rules.

    National assistance

    Almost half of states do not share data on dual-status youth at the state level. However, many of these states have system integration innovation sites at the local level. These efforts frequently have benefited from technical assistance and training resource centers like the Robert F. Kennedy Children's Action Corps and the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University (CJJR).

    Robert F. Kennedy Children's Action Corps

    The RFK National Resource Center for Juvenile Justice is part of the Resource Center Partnership created by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to advance solutions in critical areas of juvenile justice reform. The National Resource Center assists jurisdictions in the areas of dual status youth reform, juvenile probation system review and improvement, and information sharing.

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    CJJR additionally provides immersion training opportunities through certificate programs designed to promote leadership on systems integration matters. The Center's Multi-System Integration models are being implemented in jurisdictions across the country both at the county and state-level.

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    State Data sharing Committees or advisory groups Formal interagency MOUs Informal interagency agreements Statute and/or court rules
    Number of states 27 22 19 18 15
    Single agency integration
    Delaware
    New Hampshire
    New Mexico
    Rhode Island
    Vermont
    Umbrella agency integration (separate division/offices)
    Alaska
    Mississippi
    Separate state-level centralized agencies
    Connecticut
    Florida
    Iowa
    Maine
    Maryland
    Massachusetts
    Montana
    New Jersey
    South Carolina
    Utah
    West Virginia
    One or all are decentralized
    Alabama
    Arizona
    California
    Colorado
    District of Columbia
    Georgia
    Idaho
    Illinois
    Indiana
    Kansas
    Kentucky
    Louisiana
    Minnesota
    Nevada
    New York
    North Carolina
    North Dakota
    Ohio
    Oklahoma
    Oregon
    Pennsylvania
    South Dakota
    Texas
    Virginia
    Wisconsin
    Partial single agency integration (not including probation)
    Tennessee
    Wyoming
    Partial umbrella agency integration (not including probation)
    Arkansas
    Hawaii
    Michigan
    Missouri
    Nebraska
    Washington

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    Reported data

    There is no national statistic available on the prevalence of dual-status youth in child welfare and juvenile justice.  However, the U.S. Children’s Bureau requires states that receive a certain type of federal funding (Title IV-B) to submit yearly updates towards their five-year plan for strengthening their child welfare system. One of the mandated reporting requirements is “Juvenile Justice Transfers” defined as “the number of children under the care of the State child protection system who were transferred into the custody of the State juvenile justice system in the Federal Fiscal Year.”

    The data in this section were drawn from a mixture of the following state child welfare reports:

    • Child and Family Services Plans (CFSP)
    • Annual Progress and Services Reports (APSR)
    • Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) Plans

    These data are only a subset of dual-status youth and should be used with caution as they represent different data sources and units of count. Additionally, some states, noted with astericks, present greater detail and address more current time periods than others. Notes are included for examples that have known accuracy issues or are dated. These data, nonetheless, provide a starting point for discussion of national reporting requirements and diving into individual states where reporting may provide helpful insights.

    Readers are encouraged to access the original data sources via the links provided in the publications lists for a full understanding of the state juvenile justice transfer data.

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    Dual Status Youth: Data Integration to Support System Integration (JJGPS StateScan, 2016)

    Click a state to see the data it reports.   *Different or additional detail reported

      The following states are either not reporting consistent information, report zero transfers over time or that state otherwise prohibits the transfer from child welfare to juvenile justice:


        Progressive data 2014

        Developing dual-status youth prevalence data frequently requires merging administrative data from various automated data systems. Notwithstanding the federal requirement explored in the previous topic, ongoing measurement is rare. Six states publish state-wide prevalence statistics on a regular basis and Washington updates sophisticated research databases that support the advancement of dual-status youth research.

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        Placement and Delinquency Trajectories of Youth with Active Juvenile Court Dependency Cases (Seattle, WA) (NCJJ Research Brief, 2015).

        Click a state to see a summary of its policies and more information.

          About this project

          Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

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