RD594 - Study on Crossover Youth Information Sharing
During the 2021 General Assembly Session, the General Assembly and Governor approved Senate Bill 1206 on the confidentiality of the Department of Juvenile Justice department records. This bill provided that juvenile records may be open for inspection to the Department of Social Services or any local department of social services that is providing services or care for, or has accepted a referral for family assessment or investigation and the provision of services regarding, a juvenile, and these local agencies have entered into a formal agreement with the Department of Juvenile Justice to provide coordinated services to such juveniles. In addition, this bill requested that the Commission on Youth convene a work group to review current data and record sharing provisions with regard to youth served by the juvenile justice and child welfare systems and make recommendations on best practices for the sharing, collection, and use of such data and records while respecting the privacy interests of youth and families.
The Commission adopted a study plan on crossover youth information sharing at its May 3, 2021, meeting. The mandate for the study stated as follows:
• The General Assembly and the Governor approved Senate Bill 1206 (Barker) introduced during the 2021 Session. This legislation’s second enactment clause directs:
o The Virginia Commission on Youth shall convene a work group to include representatives from the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, the Department of Education, youth and families with lived experience in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems, representatives of Virginia juvenile justice advocacy groups, representatives of local public defender offices, and representatives from other relevant state or local entities. The work group shall review current data and record sharing provisions with regard to youth served by the juvenile justice and child welfare systems and make recommendations on best practices for the sharing, collection, and use of such data and records while respecting the privacy interests of youth and families. The work group shall report its findings and recommendations to the Governor and the Chairmen of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and the House Committee for Courts of Justice by November 1, 2021.
The Commission on Youth commenced its study and conducted two work group meetings with relevant stakeholders during the spring and summer on the following dates: May 19, and June 21, 2021.
Draft study findings and recommendations were presented at the Commission’s September 20, 2021, meeting. The Commission received written public comment through October 14, 2021. After receiving public comment at the October 19, 2021, meeting, the Commission on Youth approved the following recommendations:
Request the Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Social Services, and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, respectively, to create or update guidance on youth information sharing for use at the state level and for dissemination and use at the courts service units, local departments of social services, and community services boards.
This guidance on information sharing should focus on, but not be limited to, detailing what information is to be collected and maintained by the department and local agencies, clarifying permissible reasons to share information, reasons to request information, the process for how information is to be shared, steps in place to protect information, procedures for obtaining informed consent, the statutory requirements from the federal as well as state government that controls the dissemination of information in the Department’s possession, and steps to ensure staff is properly trained on information sharing protocols.
Guidance shall be open for comment on the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall public comment forum and once implemented at the state department and local level be made available to the public on their websites.
Amend the Code of Virginia, sections 63.2-104/63.2-105 to indicate that the immediate identification of and sharing of crossover youth status between local departments and court service units and community services boards is to be done in accordance with established agreements between the local agencies. Any court service unit or community services board to which such records are disclosed in accordance with an agreement shall not further disclose any information received unless such further disclosure is expressly required by law. The Chief Judge or designee, who oversees the jurisdiction where an agreement by local agencies is being made to share information, must review the agreement before it goes into effect.
Direct the Department of Social Services to create guidelines or best practices on what these agreements should entail.
Amend the Code of Virginia to direct the Department of Juvenile Justice to develop and biennially update a model memorandum of understanding setting forth the respective roles and responsibilities of court service units, local departments of social services, and community services boards regarding the information sharing of youth records.
This model memorandum of understanding may include topics on, who has access to youth information, a listing of the information that will be shared, reasons for use of shared information, privacy policies and any individual or parent/guardian notification requirements, and steps to be used to keep the information secure. This model memorandum of understanding shall be disseminated to local agencies for their adaptation and use.
In developing the model memorandum of understanding the Department of Juvenile Justice shall collaborate with the Department of Social Services, Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, the Office of Children’s Services, Department of Criminal Justice Services, court service units, local departments of social services, community services boards, youth and family representatives, a nationally recognized expert on cross agency youth best practices, and any other interested stakeholders that it deems appropriate to biennially update the model memorandum of understanding.
The Department of Juvenile Justice or locally-operated court services units, local departments of social services, and community services boards in each local area serving youth shall enter into a memorandum of understanding that sets forth the responsibilities of each local agency regarding the information sharing of youth records. The provisions of such memorandum of understanding shall be based on the model memorandum of understanding developed by the Department of Juvenile Justice, which may be modified by the parties in accordance with their particular needs.
Each adopted memorandum of understanding shall include agreements on the following, (i) the manner in which a multi-agency youth is identified and shared between agencies, including when at the point of court service unit intake, probable cause determination, and validated referral at a local department of social services, for older children, (ii) the manner in which past (non-ongoing) youth agency involvement is identified and shared, with the informed consent of the youth and guardian, and (iii) who at each local department is responsible for identifying potential crossover youth.
Each such court service unit, local department of social services, and community services board shall conduct at least yearly recurring cross-agency training on information sharing as a way to learn about other agency’s protocols and to revisit and discuss the shared memorandum of understanding. Local agencies shall also review and amend or affirm such memorandum of understanding at least once every two years or at any time upon the request of either party.
Request the Department of Social Services, Department of Juvenile Justice, and Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services provide initial employee and ongoing training on youth information sharing for their local agencies, local departments of social services, court service units, and community services boards, respectively. Topics should include, but are not limited to, state and federal confidentiality laws, protocols for safe guarding data, and procedures on informed consent to release information.
Request the Office of Data Governance and Analytics to work with the Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Social Services, Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services and other applicable stakeholders to create a plan to use the Commonwealth Data Trust to enable local departments to identify and share crossover youth status at the youth’s initial contact point with an agency for purposes of service delivery.
This plan should identify what systems, and the records or information therein, that must be made available to the Data Trust to identify and share crossover youth status at initial point of contact with the respective agencies, what consents need to be obtained from the youth and guardians, what agreements need to be made between the relevant agencies as well as with the Office of Data Governance and Analytics, and what legislative or funding changes if any will be necessary to implement this practice. As part of this request, the Office of Data Governance and Analytics should also build a proof of concept to enable the Department of Juvenile Justice to work with local agencies to share de-identified data on multi-system involved youth between each other, with the goal of local system improvement and trend monitoring. The Office of Data Governance and Analytics shall report back its findings and recommendations to the Commission on Youth by November 1, 2022.
Request the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) to conduct a study using Virginia Longitudinal Data Systems (VLDS) data to analyze the crossover youth population in Virginia. The Department of Juvenile Justice shall work with the Department of Social Services and other relevant VLDS member state agencies on this study.
The Department of Juvenile Justice shall identify and interpret demographic data and available and relevant outcomes data on the crossover youth population. Additionally, DJJ shall make recommendations on how to improve the collection, sharing, and analysis of de-identified data based on this study. The Department of Juvenile Justice shall report back its findings and recommendations to the Virginia Commission on Youth by November 1, 2022.
Request the Commission on Youth to conduct a study in 2022 to look at how youth who are being provided services in the school, including mental health services, can be better supported as they transition to adulthood. This study should look at ways that the Community Services Boards can work with the transitioning student and family and the local education agency.