Crossover Youth (COY)

Primary Investigator: Ron Sabatelli

Project Manager: Ciara Collins

In the first phase, CARHD Research Associates Drs. Anne Farrell, Ronald Sabatelli, and Kellie Randall partnered with Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families (DCF), the Child Protection (CP) division of the Superior Court for Juvenile Matters, and the Court Support Services Division (CSSD) of the Juvenile Branch to identify and describe the population of youth in the child welfare system at risk of crossing over into the juvenile justice system. “Crossover youth” is a term to describe minors who have had involvement with both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, both concurrently and by crossing from one system to the other. This project was initiated due to a large gap in understanding of the characteristics of crossover youth and the best practices and interventions for addressing their needs. The three partner agencies provided CARHD with data on youth with involvement in one, both, and/or all three agencies. The first phase of the project presented findings on the following (see reports and news articles):

  • Demographics of the crossover youth population
  • Factors among child welfare involved youth that increase likelihood of crossing over
  • Factors related to out of home placement and the likelihood of crossing over
  • Patterns of maltreatment and role of timing in the likelihood of crossing over


In the second phase, CARHD Research Associates Drs. Anne Farrell, Ronald Sabatelli, Kellie Randall, and Graduate Research Associate Ciara Collins, M.A. are continuing their partnership with DCF, CP, and CSSD, building upon this first phase by updating data from these three agencies. Additionally, data from the Connecticut State Department of Education (SDE) and the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) will be collected in order to gain a broader understanding of the experiences and outcomes of crossover youth. Following this updated data collection, the CARHD team proposes to look at the following research questions:

  • Are there educational patterns that predict involvement in either/both the child welfare or juvenile justice systems or educational patterns that result from involvement with either/both systems?
  • How do child welfare involvement, education experiences, and COY status relate to housing stability?
  • Are there effects of Connecticut’s policy changes regarding juvenile processing and jurisdiction on characteristics of youth who are committed, factors related to disposition, etc.?


Randall, Kellie G., “Crossover Youth: Person-Centered Approaches to Understanding Youth Involved in the Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Systems” (2015). Doctoral Dissertations. Paper 742.

Technical Reports:

Randall, K.G., Sabatelli, R.M., & Farrell, A.F. (2015, May). Research Brief: Connecticut’s Crossover Youth (COY). Storrs, CT: UConn Center for Applied Research in Human Development.

Randall, K.G., Sabatelli, R.M., & Farrell, A.F. (2015, June). Crossover Youth: Child Welfare Trajectories of Youth Who Move from the Child Welfare to the Juvenile Justice System. Storrs, CT: UConn Center for Applied Research in Human Development.