Crossover youth are young people who have experiences of maltreatment and exhibit delinquency, which may or may not come to the formal attention of the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Black youth are overrepresented among the crossover youth population, and evidence suggests that Black girls who experience crossover are particularly in need of specialized attention. Black girls’ experiences within child welfare, juvenile justice, and related systems are unique given the intersection of race and gender in light of issues such as discrimination, disparate treatment, and abuse undergone while in the care of agencies touted to protect them. Guided by a Black Feminism perspective and Critical Race Theory that acknowledge the intersection of race, gender, and additional social identities as well as structural racism and power, this manuscript provides an overview of the aforementioned issues and focuses on practical implications for better serving Black girls who experience crossover and their mental health. The authors offer a strengths-based, community framework to better understand the mental health needs of Black girls who experience maltreatment and exhibit delinquent behavior. In particular, the aim is to recognize the role that systemic racism and gendered experiences and obstacles have on individuals navigating the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Finally, the authors present tangible implications for individuals and communities that are unique to the intersectional needs of Black system-involved girls.
Key Take Away Points
- Black youth are overrepresented among the crossover youth population, and evidence suggests that Black girls who experience crossover are particularly in need of specialized attention.
- Guided by Black Feminism and Critical Race Theory, this manuscript provides an overview of the relevant issues and focuses on practical implications for better serving Black girls who experience crossover.
Dr. Karen M. Kolivoski is the Deputy Director for Research at the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform (CJJR) at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University and a Distinguished Fellow of Juvenile Justice at Child Trends in the Youth Development department. Dr. Alexandra Miller is Deputy Director of Multi-Systems Operations at CJJR at Georgetown University. Ms. Macon Stewart is Senior Deputy Director at CJJR at Georgetown University. Dr. Sherri Y. Simmons-Horton is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Work at the University of New Hampshire.
The authors would like to thank the reviewers and editor of the journal for their valuable support in the success of this manuscript.
Kolivoski, Karen M.; Miller, Alexandra; Stewart, Macon; and Simmons-Horton, Sherri Y.
"Overrepresented and Under Discussed: From Conceptual Analysis to Practical Implications for Crossover among Black Girls,"
Journal of Family Strengths: Vol. 23:
1, Article 2.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/jfs/vol23/iss1/2