Child protection and youth offending: Differences in youth criminal court-involved children by dual system involvement

Susan Baidawi, Rubini Ball

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The over-representation of children from child protection backgrounds in youth justice systems presents a long-standing concern. This study adds to a growing body of research that identifies how such dual system youth differ from other criminal court-involved youth. It also investigates heterogeneity among dual system youth based on the concurrent (dually-involved) or non-concurrent (dual contact) nature of their systems involvement. Socio-demographic characteristics, offending profiles and support needs of 300 dual system youth with statutory child protection involvement and who appeared in three Australian youth criminal courts were compared with those of a matched sample of 268 justice-only youth. Results indicated dual system youth were on average younger, more likely to be female, had more prior adjudications, current charges, and more violent offending. Importantly, the findings demonstrate that dually-involved children experience greater polyvictimisation, out-of-home care placement, and more serious offending, relative to both justice-only and dual contact youth. Among those sentenced to youth justice supervision, dually-involved children were less likely to have a relative caregiver and had more complex support needs related to neurodisability, mental illness, and substance misuse. Findings support the utility and importance of proposed frameworks for defining the heterogeneous pathways of dual system youth, and the need for targeted and collaborative strategies across court and youth justice systems to address such children's unique needs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106736
Number of pages11
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • Child welfare
  • Crossover youth
  • Delinquency
  • Dual system youth
  • Juvenile justice
  • Neurodisability

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