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Improving Educational Outcomes for Youth in the Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Systems Through Interagency Communication and Collaboration

NCJ Number
S. Gonsoulin; N. W. Read
Date Published
May 2011
20 pages
This practice guide was developed by the National Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center to provide information for improving educational outcomes for youth involved in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems.
This practice guide from the National Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center (NDTAC) discusses the use of interagency communication and collaboration as a vital means for improving the educational outcomes for youth involved with the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. By improving interagency communication and collaboration, providers within both the juvenile justice and child welfare systems can work together to better align their resources and utilize each other's strengths in ways that better meet the needs of the children and youth in their care. The introduction to this guide briefly discusses four barriers that can be problematic for communication within and between agencies. These four barriers are philosophical barriers, structural barriers, language and communication barriers, and staff resistance. The remainder of the guide focuses on three practices and related strategies for improving communication. These practices are: 1) engage in collaborative decisionmaking using the following strategies - memoranda of understanding to share information, consolidated case management, and aligning relevant policies; 2) share resources and expertise using the following strategies - co-location of staff, sharing of databases, and cross-agency training; and 3) target services to meet the needs of children, youth, parents, and caregivers using the following strategies - engaging youth and families as key decisionmakers and assets, and implementing evidence-based and best practice programming that supports individual students' success in school and life. References, resources and examples