‘Crossover kids’: Effective responses to children and young people in the youth justice and statutory child protection systems

Dr Susan Baidawi1

1Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Children who come to the attention of statutory Child Protection services due to abuse, neglect and parental incapacity are twelve times more likely to offend and come under the supervision of Youth Justice services. Yet little is known about the characteristics and pathways of this group of ‘cross over’ children. This presentation outlines findings of a Criminology Research Council (CRC)-funded study undertaken in partnership with the Victorian Children’s Court. The study’s mixed-methods approach involved i) Children’s Court case file analyses of 300 cross-over children who in 2016-17 came before three Victorian Children’s Courts (2 metropolitan and 1 regional in location), and ii) interviews and focus groups with 82 professional stakeholders including the Children’s Court Judiciary, lawyers, police prosecutors and officers, Child Protection and Youth Justice practitioners, and other child and family welfare and educational professionals.

This session presents key study findings relating to crossover children’s characteristics and backgrounds, child protection involvement, offending and sentencing outcomes. Implications for preventing, diverting and responding to the drift of children from child protection to youth justice systems are discussed.


Dr Susan Baidawi is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Social Work, Monash University, Melbourne. Her research spans aspects of the child protection, youth justice and adult justice systems. Dr Baidawi has been awarded a Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA) from the Australian Research Council (2019-2021) to conduct ongoing research in partnership with the Children’s Court of Victoria into the phenomenon of children crossing over from child protection into youth justice systems.