This project was funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) in the US Department of Justice as a multi-city research project to pilot methods to generate a national estimate of dual system youth. As part of this grant, administrative data matching was used in three sites (NYC, Cook County, Cuyahoga County) to recommend a methodology for estimating the number of dual system youth and determining their characteristics.
This study used a sample of youth who were first involved in the juvenile justice system between 2010 and 2014. Child welfare history data was linked to justice data to determine youths’ trajectories of dual system involvement and to assess characteristics of their child welfare involvement. Specifically, differences in characteristics were examined between five groups:(1) youth who are involved in child welfare, but not in juvenile justice; (2) youth who are involved in juvenile justice, but not child welfare; (3) youth who have child welfare involvement that precedes delinquency; (4) youth who have child welfare involvement that is concurrent with delinquency; and (5) youth who have child welfare involvement following delinquency.
In NYC, 70% of youth in the juvenile justice cohort were dual system youth; in Cook County and Cuyahoga County, 69% and 45% of the juvenile justice cohort were dual system youth. Dual system youth were more likely to be male, but females were represented at a higher rate than in the juvenile justice only cohort. African-American youth were overrepresented in all cohorts, but the amount of overrepresentation was greater among dual contact youth. Dual system youth were more likely to be detained prior to adjudication and recidivate within a year than their juvenile justice only counterparts. They were also more likely to be placed in out-of-home settings than their child welfare only counterparts.
The study identified six theoretical pathways for dual-system youth: (1) dual contact youth (i.e., youth without overlapping system involvement) with child welfare involvement first; (2) dual contact youth with juvenile justice involvement first; (3) dually involved youth (i.e., with concurrent cases in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems) with child welfare involvement first and no historical child welfare case; (4) dually involved youth with child welfare involvement first and a historical child welfare case; (5) dually involved youth with juvenile justice involvement first and no historical child welfare case; and (6) dually involved youth with juvenile justice involvement first and a historical child welfare case. Most of the youth across sites were in the dual contact youth pathways, almost exclusively in the child welfare first pathway.
Funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
In collaboration with California State University, Case Western Reserve University, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago
NYC Administration for Children's Services
NYC Department of NYC Department of Probation