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Crossover Youth

Trends in the Court Case Types for Youth in Out-of-Home Care

young middle school boys in a juvenile detention yard lean against wire fence

Project Summary

The Colorado Lab is partnered with the Colorado Department of Human Services and Judicial Branch to link their data to assess feasibility of building a routine and replicable process for generating statewide data on “crossover youth” to  establish a baseline for a U.S. Government Accountability Office study and report requirement in the Family First Prevention Services Act and informing Colorado policy and practice. Crossover youth are defined in this study as youth in out-of-home care who have a juvenile delinquency case that overlaps temporally with a dependency and neglect case. This information is important because there is a federal requirement to evaluate “whether the lack of available congregate care placements under the jurisdiction of the child welfare systems is a contributing factor to that result.” Furthermore, trends in the number of child welfare involved youth who are also juvenile justice involved can inform state planning to provide developmentally appropriate services. Analysis is expected to be complete spring of 2024, with a report to follow.

Steps to Building Evidence

Crossover Youth incorporates Step 3 on the Steps to Building Evidence, which includes conducting pre-post assessment and descriptive models.


The unique needs of crossover youth have been forefront in Colorado’s work to coordinate services among child welfare agencies and the court systems. Information about these young people is siloed in separate systems—making it difficult to take a systems-level approach to resourcing developmentally appropriate services. This project also seeks to establish a sustainable process for generating the statewide data necessary to meet federal reporting requirements and inform policies and practices aimed at serving crossover youth.

Get Involved

For more information about working with the Colorado Lab, see Government and Community Partnerships or Research Partnerships.