Dual Jurisdiction (Cross-Over) Youth

Dual Jurisdiction (Cross-Over) Youth February 2008

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges the federal, state, territorial, and tribal governments to revise laws, court rules, policies, and practices related to “dual jurisdiction” youth (abused and neglected youth with juvenile “dependency” cases who are charged with acts of delinquency) to:
1. Use diversion and intervention services for minor or low level acts of misbehavior committed while a youth is in foster care;
2. Eliminate statutory and legal restrictions inhibiting dual jurisdiction;
3. Create a legal preference enabling youth to have their dependency proceedings remain open with continued child and family support;
4. Provide, when feasible, that a single judge hear post-adjudication dispositional matters involving dual jurisdiction cases and that continuity of legal representation for the child in both court proceedings be secured;
5. Promote training for all juvenile defense counsel on foster care issues;
6. Ensure that an adult responsible for the youth attend hearings in both proceedings to address issues related to the child and family;
7. Encourage information-sharing among dependency and delinquency courts and agencies, establish confidentiality protections for all child welfare information shared, and restrict the use of information gathered from foster youth as part of screening, assessment, or treatment in the pending or future delinquency or criminal proceedings;
8. Promote the prompt post-arrest involvement of providers, caseworkers, or advocates acting on the youth’s behalf; ensure fair treatment of foster youth in juvenile detention, incarceration, or probation decisions; and eliminate practices that result in detention or prolonged incarceration of youth due to foster care status or an absence of suitable placement options;
9. Provide clear authority for continued social services/child welfare support for children and families when youth cross from dependency to delinquency court/juvenile justice, and eliminate funding barriers that inhibit multiple agency support of these youth and their families;
10. Apply protections afforded foster youth under Titles IV-E of the Social Security Act to youth placed through delinquency or status offense proceedings, in foster care or other non-penal settings, under court authority or under the auspices of juvenile justice agencies; and
11. Fully implement 2002 and 2003 amendments to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act and the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act to: a) make youths’ child welfare records known to the juvenile court for effective treatment planning; b) provide effective treatment and service continuity when youth transition between child welfare and juvenile justice systems; c) assure that when youth are placed in settings funded through Title IV-E of the Social Security Act they receive full protections afforded under that law; and d) collect state data on all youth transferred from one system to another.

These represent only those ABA Policy Resolutions in which the Commission on Youth at Risk was the principal sponsor.

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