Implementing the Crossover Youth Practice Model in diverse contexts: Child welfare and juvenile justice professionals' experiences of multisystem collaborations

Wendy Haight, Laurel N. Bidwell, Jane Marie Marshall, Parmananda Khatiwoda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


This study takes advantage of a unique opportunity to observe structural and psychosocial processes of multisystem collaborations primarily from the perspectives of professionals attempting to bring about change in practice with crossover youth. The involvement of maltreated youth in the juvenile justice system is a persistent problem that can compound vulnerable youths' risks for problematic developmental outcomes. Youth outcomes may be improved when professionals in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems communicate and collaborate more effectively in case assessment, planning and management. The Crossover Youth Practice Model (CYPM) is an attempt to translate these and other research findings into practice largely through multisystem collaborations. This study presents an approximately two year-long, ethnographic inquiry into professionals' experiences of CYPM implementation in five diverse counties in a Midwestern state. During individual interviews, participants consistently described structural changes involving improved service provision to youth and families, and procedures and legal mandates for sharing information across departments. They also discussed psychosocial changes including improved professional support, strengthened relationships with other professionals and positive shifts in their ways of thinking and feeling about youth and their families. Participants also experienced implementation challenges including inadequate support and training of front line workers, distinguishing core features of the multifaceted model, and some issues in engaging families and key community stakeholders. Comparative case analyses across five counties suggest that systems change processes vary across and within local contexts. Implications for the implementation of systems change practice models in diverse contexts with professionals serving in various roles are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-100
Number of pages10
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - Apr 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to acknowledge Shay Bilchik, Dale Blyth, Cheryl Kreager, Alan O'Malley-Laursen, John Tuell and participants for their helpful comments on an earlier draft. This research was funded by Casey Family Programs and the Gamble-Skogmo Endowment .


  • Child welfare
  • Crossover youth
  • Dual systems youth
  • Interagency collaboration
  • Juvenile justice
  • Systems change


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