Evidence-Based ‘Gold Standard’: Coveted, Yet Controversial

It seemed a throwback to the days of the country doctor: Go to the patients instead of having them come to you. As a young intern in the pediatrics department at the University of Virginia’s medical school in the mid-1970s, Scott Henggeler got that advice from his supervisor, a social worker on staff. He heeded it, taking the department’s van out for house calls into the natural beauty of the Shenandoah Valley in the Charlottesville area and soon had an epiphany about the folly of trying to treat some of the most troubled youngsters in an office setting. “I visited probably about six, seven homes, and in each case, all it really took was to just set foot inside the door and you realized how goofy your academic treatment plan was,” Henggeler told JJIE. “Doing the home-based stuff just removed the barriers, really removed most of the barriers and helped you better engage with the families, but also very importantly, you got much more accurate assessment data.

Youth Involved in Both Foster Care and Juvenile Justice Struggle At Unexpected Rate, LA Study Finds

Crossover youth, as young adults with dual involvement in foster care and juvenile justice systems are called, face a variety of challenges when entering adulthood, and they carry a high public cost. That is according to the first-ever study of youth in foster care and on probation in Los Angeles County. Although it’s widely known that crossover youth are worse off than other youth, this study — Young Adult Outcomes of Youth Exiting Dependent or Delinquent Care in Los Angeles County, which was funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation — shows that crossover youth experience negative outcomes at twice the rate. “We didn’t realize crossover youth would have such striking distance,” Dennis Culhane, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and one of the study’s six authors, told Youth Today. “We knew it would find they’d be troubled, but didn't expect this difference of degree to show up.”

Currently, according to examined data from 2002 to 2009, crossover youth cost about three times more public service dollars than youth who are only in foster care.