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July 2012Vol. 13, No. 6New Frontier in Serving Crossover Youth

A white paper sponsored by Georgetown University's Center for Juvenile Justice Reform and the Robert F. Kennedy Children's Action Corps provides a new framework for serving youth involved in both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, sometimes known as "crossover" youth. The framework combines the core elements from the Systems Integration Initiative (SII) and the Crossover Youth Practice Model (CYPM) within a comprehensive management tool. The result is a methodology to help jurisdictions better serve youth involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

The Results-Based Accountability (RBA) management tool ties cross-system stakeholder accountability and decision-making to a shared result. RBA distinguishes population accountability—entire geographic populations regardless of whether services are provided to a specific section of the population—from performance accountability—how well a program, agency, or service works and how well it serves individuals. Joint accountability ensures that decision-making across the spectrum yields the best results for the shared population or community rather than just the population served by a singular entity. The RBA framework utilizes specific terminology, including:

  • Results are the desired quality-of-life conditions for a population within the community.
  • Indicators are measurements of whether those conditions are being achieved.
  • Performance measures are measurements of whether specific programs, agencies, services, etc., are working. 

The white paper explains principles and practices of SII and CYPM and then provides six imperatives for RBA implementation. The authors assert the six elements need not be implemented in succession or even concurrently. They suggest that jurisdictions begin with the most feasible elements and scale up from there. The six imperatives include the following:

  • Develop leadership and establish governance and management structures
  • Study and analyze data, its management, and its effect on key decision-making points
  • Create a culture of change across systems
  • Prevent youth from crossing over
  • Engage the family and community
  • Develop policies, procedures, and practices for agencies to work together collaboratively

Addressing the Needs of Multi-System Youth: Strengthen the Connection Between Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice by Denise Herz, et al., is available on the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform's website: (3 MB)