The term “dual status youth” refers to juveniles who come into contact with both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems and occupy various statuses in terms of their relationship to the two systems. A growing body of research has consistently confirmed that, in comparison to juveniles without such cross-system involvement, dual status youth present a range of important challenges. The challenges and costs associated with dual status youth strongly suggest the need to devise and implement innovative ways to manage these difficult cases.

The Robert F. Kennedy National Resource Center for Juvenile Justice, led by the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps, provides guidance for state and local jurisdictions in their endeavor to improve the outcomes for dual status youth and families and to enhance system performance among the critical youth- and family-serving agency partners. The work is advanced by several publications that delve into research, best practice, and frameworks that can be applied by jurisdictions seeking to improve outcomes for dual status youth:

Guidebook for Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare System Coordination and Integration: A Framework for Improved Outcomes, 3rd Edition
By Janet K. Wiig and John A. Tuell, with Jessica K. Heldman (Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Actions Corps, 2013)

Dual Status Youth – Technical Assistance Workbook
By John A. Tuell, Jessica K. Heldman, and Janet K. Wiig (Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Actions Corps, 2013)

Understanding Child Maltreatment and Juvenile Delinquency: From Research to Effective Program, Practice, and Systemic Solutions
By Janet K. Wiig and Cathy Spatz Widom, with John A. Tuell (Child Welfare League of America, 2003)

A Guide to Legal and Policy Analysis for Systems Integration
By Jessica Heldman (Child Welfare League of America, 2006)

The Robert F. Kennedy National Resource Center for Juvenile Justice team and consultants have historical and ongoing experience in facilitating the technical assistance experience in local and state jurisdictions which addresses core components of data, resource, and legal matters as well as planning, managing, and sustaining change. The following products have been developed by sites that have engaged in a dual status youth initiative guided by technical assistance, and offer valuable guidance and resources from successful, committed, and innovative jurisdictions.

Other Resources and Tools

Multi-System Reform for Dual Status Youth Initiative Site Manuals