Crossover Kids in the Youth Justice System

The Council is examining the prevalence of children known to the Victorian Child Protection Service among sentenced and diverted children. The study includes over 5,000 children who were sentenced or received a youth diversion order in the Victorian Children’s Court in the calendar years 2016 and 2017. It examines their child protection history (if any) over 22 years from 1996 to 2018.

The Council released the first of two reports from the study in June 2019. The first report examined:

  • the proportion of sentenced and diverted children who were ‘known to child protection’ and their level of child protection involvement (for example, the proportion who had experienced out-of-home care)
  • the proportion of ‘crossover kids’ who were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
  • the association between age at first sentence and the likelihood that a child was known to child protection
  • the association between sentence type and the likelihood that a child was known to child protection.

The project team consulted with key stakeholders, organisations and government agencies on the findings of the first report.

The second part of the study will examine:

  1. which occurred first - child protection or youth justice involvement
  2. the child protection backgrounds of older and younger sentenced and diverted children
  3. associations between youth justice factors (such as offence type) and child protection factors (such as experiencing residential care)
  4. geographical differences in the prevalence of children known to the child protection service among sentenced and diverted children.

The Council will also examine the principles that apply to considering child protection issues when sentencing children.

The second report for the project will be published in early 2020.

This project builds on the Council’s previous work on sentenced children and young people.

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