New Report Highlights Challenges Faced by California's "Crossover Youth"

Young people who come into contact with both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems---also known as crossover youth---are among the most vulnerable of California’s children. These young people are more likely to be separated from their families, experience frequent placement changes, suffer behavioral health problems, and have poor educational outcomes when compared with children not in contact with both systems, according to a 2011 Los Angeles County Report.

The California Child Welfare Co-Investments Partnership's Winter edition of Insights shares new data expanding on this earlier report, and offers an overview of the data, studies, and policy and practice reform efforts responding to the needs of these crossover youth.

The report found that negative outcomes, such as extreme poverty and incarceration, for crossover youth were twice as likely than for youth who have been in just one child welfare agency. The report also found that while African-American children make up just 5.6% of the population in California, they make up 21% of the state’s child welfare population. Youth of color are significantly more likely to be incarcerated; with African-Americans being 4.6 times as likely to be involved in the juvenile justice system than white youth. The report concludes with recommendations to effectively address the needs of crossover youth including the kind of cultural specific trauma informed practices that we integrate into all of our Lincoln programs