A new study linked administrative records for youth leaving Probation supervision with data on previous referrals to Child Protective Services. The results indicate that among youth involved in the juvenile justice system, the prevalence of past child protection involvement may be even higher than previously realized. Four out of five LA Probation youth had received at least one referral for suspected maltreatment, with many experiencing their first referral early in childhood. Prevalence of referred and substantiated maltreatment, case opening, and foster care placement was significantly higher among Female (vs. male) youth exiting Probation and Black (vs. Latino and white) youth exiting Probation.
These data illuminate the importance of coordinating cross-system responses bot for “dual status” youth who are simultaneously involved with both child protection and delinquency systems and for “crossover” youth who sequentially come to the attention of both systems. They also suggest that it is critical that we carefully examine the resources available and connections made for families referred to child protection. Previous research has shown that a first referral of maltreatment is often a seminal event in the life of a child – frequently followed by additional referrals and other adversities.1 Adoption of a countywide approach to prevention provides a significant opportunity to align public and private resources, enhance existing prevention and early intervention efforts, and support more families so they don’t require the attention of our child protection and delinquency systems.
See the Crossover Youth project page for more information and to download the full report.