• Ann Wrixon

Working With Crossover Youth: Dependency and Delinquency



This brief examines the “role that Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) play in supporting crossover youth.The Center for Juvenile Justice Reform defines Crossover Youth as “youth who have experienced some form of abuse or neglect and who engage in delinquent behaviors regardless of the depth of their involvement in these systems.” A Court Appointed Special Advocate is a trained individual who is appointed by a judge to represent the best interests of an abused and neglected child in court. These unpaid volunteers are appointed primarily in child maltreatment and dependency matters, but they can be used in delinquency matters as well when the child is also involved in dependency matters.” (p. 3)

The brief explains that crossover youth are more likely to be detained on first-time charges and less likely to receive probation compared to delinquent youth who are not in the dependency system. In addition, girls and African-American children are over represented in the crossover youth population (pp. 6-7)

The CYPM made the following 4 recommendations:

  1. “Involve CASA in CYPM Planning and Implementation,

  2. “Involve CASA Volunteers as Early as Possible in a Crossover Case,

  3. “Ensure that CASA Volunteers are Part of the Case Planning Team, and

  4. “Provide CASA Volunteers with Appropriate Youth Information.” (pp. 9-10)

In conclusion, the brief stated, “CASA volunteers’ impact on crossover youth may be the difference between a child’s case getting lost in the system and a successful case closure.” (p. 13)

Lenhoff, C., Jones-Kelley, H., & Abbott, S., The Crossover Youth Practice Model (CYPM), CYPM Brief: Engaging Court Appointed Special Advocates to Improve Outcome for Crossover Youth, (2017) Georgetown University, McCourt School of Public Policy, Center for Juvenile Justice Reform.

To read the entire report see: Cross Over Youth Model

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