The Commission on Youth is currently conducting a study on best practices for sharing of data and records regarding “crossover youth,” broadly defined as youth who have experienced maltreatment and also engaged in delinquency. This study was directed by legislation approved during the 2021 session that allows access to certain juvenile justice records by staff from the Department of Social Services or a local department, and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services or a local community services board, when local agencies have entered into a formal agreement with the Department of Juvenile Justice to provide coordinated services to the youth.
On September 20, Commission staff presented a series of proposed recommendations based on the discussions at two work group meetings on the topic; public comment on these recommendations (available at this link) must be received by 5 p.m. on Thursday, October 14, 2021. Public comments received by the deadline will be provided to the Commission for consideration at its October 19 meeting. Comments may be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail to the Commission on Youth, 900 E. Main St, Floor 11, Richmond, VA 23219. Comments may also be faxed to (804) 371-0574.
An overview of the draft recommendations follows below:
- Recommendation 1: Request the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), the Department of Social Services (DSS), and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) to create or update guidance on youth information sharing for use at the state level and for dissemination to local court service units, departments of social services, and community services boards (CSBs).
- Recommendation 2: Amend Virginia Code to clarify that identification of crossover youth at initial system involvement and sharing of information between local departments and court service units and community services boards must be done in accordance with established agreements among those agencies, and that no further disclosure is permitted unless expressly required by law.
- Recommendation 3: Direct DJJ to develop a model memorandum of understanding setting out the respective roles and responsibilities of court service units, local departments of social services, and community services boards regarding sharing of youth records. Require cross-agency training at least annually among local agencies participating in such memoranda of understanding.
- Recommendation 4: Direct DJJ to create a pilot project to enable local agencies to share de-identified data on crossover youth in order to encourage local system improvement, with the results of the pilot project to be reported to the Commission on Youth by November 2023.
- Recommendation 5: Request DSS, DJJ, and DBHDS to provide initial and ongoing training on youth information sharing to local agencies, to include information on confidentiality laws, protocols for safeguarding data, and informed consent for release of information.
- Recommendation 6: Request the Office of Data Governance and Analytics to work with DJJ, DSS, DBHDS, and other stakeholders to develop a plan to use the Commonwealth Data Trust to enable local departments to identify and share crossover youth status at the youth’s initial contact with an agency, for the purposes of service delivery.
- Recommendation 7: Request DJJ to conduct a study of demographic and outcomes data on the crossover youth population, using the Virginia Longitudinal Data System, to include recommendations on how to improve the collection, sharing, and analysis of de-identified data, with a report due to the Commission on Youth by November 2022.
- Recommendation 8: Request the Commission on Youth to undertake a study in 2022 of ways to improve the transition to adulthood for youth receiving services in schools, to include ways the CSBs can work with students, their families, and local education agencies.
The Commission on Youth is also seeking comment on recommendations regarding participation in the Virginia Higher Education Substance Use Advisory Committee (VHESUAC); those recommendations may be found at this link.
VACo Contact: Katie Boyle