African American youth and their kinship families engaged in dual systems of care (i.e., child welfare system and juvenile justice system) commonly known as “crossover youth” can become overwhelmed by the competing priorities of both systems. While one system purports to advance a best interests standard of children in out of home care, the other, is stated to be centered on tenets of restorative justice. Children and families simultaneously involved in systems that are incompatible can be very difficult to negotiate. In addition to the traditional developmental gaps in crossover youth development there are subsequent layers that contribute to the youth’s identity at the point of intersectionality. The presence of multiple selves and the lack of stability to navigate nuanced personas in these dual systems creates discourse relative to poly-victimization, serial victimization, and betrayal trauma.
As a community-based strategy, to address the structural and systemic disconnect of these competing systems in the lives of African American families of crossover youth in kinship care settings, A Second Chance, Inc. (ASCI), a Pennsylvania nonprofit dedicated to kinship care, created a High Intensity Kinship Unit to address these competing systems. ASCI’s In-Home Clinical Service department highlights youth’s mental health concerns while collaborating with the High Impact Unit (HIU) who services to bridge systemic gaps, address the nuances inherent in the child welfare and juvenile justice; and to improve the outcomes for success for African American crossover youth.
This article will advance a community-based framework based on the strengths of the Black family. Centered on the frameworks of Critical Race Theory and Self-Efficacy, the aim of this article is to examine strategies used by a community-based agency to address the structural racism of the systems of care, as well as to better understanding the role of self-efficacy when working with youth crossover as it relates to their educational and mental health needs. Lastly, the aim of this manuscript is to provide practical and effective interventions when working with African American crossover youth in kinship care, through a community-based lens.
Dr. James Freeman, PhD., LCSW, MBAe, has dedicated a significant portion of his personal and professional life to his work in the nonprofit and community services. Dr. Freeman is the Chief Program Officer for A Second Chance, Inc. and also serves as an Associate Professor for the MSW program at Johnson C Smith University in the School of Social Work. His efforts have been around working with African American families in support of enhancing their growth and development, to assist them with competent community services that reduce barriers, in a strategic effort to build strong families and safe communities. Dr. Freeman is a National Thought Leader in Child and Family Wellbeing, he serves as the Chair of the National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW) Finance Committee, a Co-Chair for the NABSW National Conference, and the Executive Consultant for the Black Administrator of Child Welfare (BACW). Shieláh DeBlanc, MS, NCC, LPC, CCTP, the In-Home Clinical Services Director at A Second Chance, Inc., works with our children and families by providing oversight to master’s level clinicians and clinical interns. She works to facilitate mental health trainings and foster connections to staff and outside agencies which include various topics such as child abuse, emotional intelligence, and parenting a child with trauma. Shieláh is a nationally certified counselor (NCC) through the National Board of Certified Counselors and a licensed professional counselor (LPC) with the state of Pennsylvania. Shielah is also credentialed as a certified clinical trauma professional (CCTP) through the International Association of Trauma Professionals. Dr. Shani Yeldell, Psy. D, was nominated for Pittsburgh’s Fab under 40, which acknowledges professionals through community participation, exceptional achievements, and exemplary leadership. Dr. Yeldell has dedicated her career to improving student equity and addressing factors that affect the school-to-prison pipeline. Jacquet Toliver, MSW, is one of ASCI’s leaders who oversee the CFS, Permanency and Clinical teams. He began his full-time career with the agency in 2009 and is dedicated to the efforts of ASCI. Dr. Christine White-Taylor, Ed.D, received her bachelor’s degree in secondary education and political science from Slippery Rock State College. Her teaching and administrative assignments involved her in the development of multicultural education curriculums and diverse learning environments. She is a two-time graduate of Duquesne University, having first obtained a master’s in reading and language arts and later earning her doctorate as a member of the school’s inaugural Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program for Educational Leaders.
Freeman, James; DeBlanc, Shieláh; Yeldell, Shani; Williams, Passion; White-Taylor, Christine; and Toliver, Jacquet
"Mental Health and the Intersectionality of Race and Gender of Crossover Youth,"
Journal of Family Strengths: Vol. 23:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/jfs/vol23/iss1/4