Multi-System Involved Youth

A 2014 study by the Washington Center for Court Research (WSCCR) found that approximately 44% of youth referred into the juvenile justice system also had a history in the child welfare system. Such youth are identified by WSCCR as “multi-system” youth. Multi-system youth often present a more complex set of service needs in comparison to peers involved in just one juvenile system. These more complex needs often place multi-system youth at a higher risk of negative outcomes, such as juvenile offender recidivism and reduced educational success. This risk is even further elevated for female and minority youth. Starting in 2014, WSCCR has partnered with Washington State Department of Social and Human Services (DSHS) to improve the State’s data infrastructure and develop an up-to-date database, conducive to longitudinal analysis, of multi-system involved youth. This collaboration laid the groundwork for understanding prevalence of multi-system youth, their characteristics as a population, and their experiences with the juvenile justice system. Ongoing research strives to expand the data collection to facilitate monitoring, tracking, and reporting on experiences and outcomes for this population, including, but not limited to, academic, social, and employment achievements.