Forging a Partnership 12-04-17

Forging a Partnership Between Police, Youth, and Human Services Agencies

Article courtesy of APHSA Policy and Practice Magazine.

This is a time of mounting concern regarding the overlap of children in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. Indeed, this group of children is now termed “crossover youth,” referring to youth who started in the child welfare system, often transitioning to foster or residential care, and then landing in the juvenile justice system. This overlap encompasses many family members, is intergenerational, and commands a sizable portion of agency resources.

Longstanding and newer programs are designed to enhance communication and build relationships between youth and police in a casual way. Best known is the Police Athletic League (PAL). Their “century-old history  is founded on the principle that the police and the communities they serve both benefit when they have positive and productive relationships with one another.” A newer program, founded in 2009, Strategies for Youth (SFY) is a national organization that “exists solely for the purpose of improving police–youth interactions, advancing the cause of training public safety officers in the science of child and youth development and mental health, and supporting communities partnering to promote strong police/youth relationships.” SFY’s “Policing the Teen Brain” trainings invite five types of youth-serving community-based organizations (YSCBOs) to meet with officers. The goal is to shore up law enforcement officers’ awareness of these programs in the communities they serve, as well as to encourage them to refer youth to the program staff. By promoting conversation and personal connections during

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