Agency integration, 2016

Coordination, 2014

  • Uses for coordination
  • Does not use for coordination
  • Data sharing

    Facilitated through the use of statewide information systems allowing for consistent data sharing between systems.

  • Committees or advisory groups

    Multidisciplinary groups that often have regularly scheduled meetings to brainstorm ways to improve systems integration.

  • Formal interagency MOUs

    Collaborative agreements to guide systems integration efforts

  • Informal interagency agreements

    Commonly based on historical practice, mutual trust, and recognition of the need to collaborate in order to serve dual-status youth.

  • Statute and/or rules

    Rules that mandate systems integration efforts


In Massachusetts, there is currently limited (manual) data sharing occurring to actively identify dual status youth at the state level between the Department of Youth Services (DYS) and the Department of Children and Families (DCF). A state-level memorandum of understanding (MOU) exists between DYS and DCF to work collaboratively to reduce the detention of dual status youth pending delinquency charges. The MOU facilitates the sharing of information between the two state agencies.  DYS & DCF additionally have the capacity to identify dual status youth committed to their custody on an ad hoc basis to support research and planning and the ability to document prevalence between the two state agencies at a more nuanced level than some states (see reported data below).  

Massachusetts utilizes a unified juvenile court system, which allows judges access to both delinquency and dependency case information. However, there are no policies, protocols, or infrastructure in place to automate the sharing of data.  Two ongoing, state level work groups are currently working to advance information sharing and case coordination on behalf of dual status youth.  One is chaired by DYS and is specifically charged with improving outcomes for dual status youth.  The work group has broad representation from stakeholder in the state-level service systems, the courts, behavioral health systems, public defenders and representatives from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.  The second group is chaired by the Chief administrative Justice of the Trial Court and has the twin charges of improving outcomes for dual status youth and addressing racial and ethnic fairness in the juvenile justice system. 

Massachusetts is the recipient of technical assistance from both the Georgetown University Center for Juvenile Justice Reform (CJJR) and has active demonstration sites receiving technical assistance from the Robert F. Kennedy Children's Action Corps in Essex and Hampden counties. The Hampden County Model was the recipient of both CJJR and the RFK National Resource Center for Juvenile Justice (RFK) technical assistance and started in 2012.  The model involves information sharing (through manual means) to identify dual status youth prior to a delinquency initial appearance and conducting multi-disciplinary team pre-hearing conferences, facilitated by a clinician from the juvenile court behavioral health clinic.   The model also has a dedicated dual status youth court docket assigned to judges trained to review and apply plans developed during pre-hearing conferences. 

Reported data

Progressive data, 2014

The Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS) participates in the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI).  The Massachusetts JDAI Dashboard is updated quarterly and contains dual status youth prevalence data, including the statewide percentage of youth admitted to detention with open Department of Children & Families (DCF) cases (typically about 40% of admissions). The series also monitors dual status youth prevalence by county and displays how prevalence rates differ widely by geography.

View the statewide JDAI dashboard series >>

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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