Training Available for Serving Dual Status Youth

Youth in foster care become involved with the juvenile justice system more often than their non-foster care counterparts, and once they do, they are at an even higher risk of negative outcomes. These youth—commonly referred to as dual status youth—require a unique approach.

To help CASA staff and volunteers better understand their role in dual status cases, Texas CASA offers training on Advocacy for Dual Status Youth on the Texas CASA Learning Center. This training was conducted by Ryan Miller of CASA of Travis County.

Concerning Statistics

Youth who experience abuse or neglect are at a 47% greater risk of being involved with the juvenile justice system, compared to the general population. While hard to quantify, it is estimated that 45-75% of first-time juvenile offenses involving minors involve youth who were previously in foster care. Looking closer, girls and African-American youth are disproportionately represented among youth involved in both systems.

Ninety-two percent of youth involved in both systems first experience foster care, and then become juvenile justice involved. Additionally, youth in foster care who enter the juvenile justice system have worse outcomes than their non-foster-care peers. Dual status involvement is associated with higher risks for mental health, education and vocation challenges, as well as higher rates of recidivism, longer stays in detention, placement instability and poor permanency outcomes.

Clarifying CASA’s Role

During the 87th Legislative Session, Texas CASA championed legislation, SB 2049, to ensure guardians ad litem (GALs) appointed to a youth in foster care could also serve as GAL on any associated juvenile case to advocate for dual status youth as effectively as possible. SB 2049 allows judges to appoint CASA to juvenile cases if they are appointed in the CPS case. This ensures that CASA volunteers can submit written reports and recommendations to juvenile judges, offering insight into needed services for the best interest of the youth. The new law also prohibits CASA volunteers from investigating any alleged crime and prohibits CASA volunteers from testifying about a youth’s guilt or innocence. This protects the important relationship between a CASA volunteer and a youth, while still allowing CASA to advocate for their best interest in juvenile cases.

We encourage CASA staff and volunteers to take advantage of this important training opportunity. As always, if you have questions about SB 2049 or any other legislation or policy issues, reach out to publicpolicy@texascasa.org. We are happy to be a resource!

BACK TO INSIDE CASA HOME PAGE