Identifying policy solutions to reduce the ‘crossover’ of children between child protection and youth justice systems in the Northern Territory; A policy Delphi study

  • Roche, Steven (Principal Investigator/Chief Investigator A)
  • Robinson, Gary (Principal Investigator/Chief Investigator A)

Project: Research

Project Details


This project seeks to identify and explore options to reduce the likelihood of children engaged with child protection in the Northern Territory (NT) from crossing into the youth justice system. It seeks to do this by understanding the effectiveness of current efforts, identifying policy alternatives and seeking feedback from a range of experts on the suitability of those alternatives via a policy Delphi study design.

‘Crossover children’ are children with experience of child maltreatment and engagement in delinquent behaviour, who may or may not be involved with child protection or youth justice systems (Herz et al., 2019). This is a significant and ongoing issue in the NT where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children (hereafter respectfully referred to as Aboriginal children) make up 42% of the total 10-17 years old population but are 91% of children in out-of-home care and 96% of youth detainees (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2022; Productivity Commission, 2022).

In response to this issue, this study aims to examine the individual, environmental and systemic factors that influence children’s crossover from child protection and youth justice systems including current efforts to support crossover children. It will draw on insights from policy, practice and lived experience experts utilising a multi-round policy Delphi study, involving gathering qualitative data on the perspectives of relevant stakeholders on policy options to support prevention, early intervention and diversion for existing and prospective crossover children in the NT, and quantitative data to identify areas of consensus and dissensus. The study will employ an Aboriginal Research Assistant as well as utilise an Aboriginal Advisory Group to advise all phases of the project.

This research will contribute to the existing knowledge base on youth offending and inform the development of evidence-based policies and practices that can benefit young people and the wider community. It will also build on existing knowledge regarding policy options for reducing the overrepresentation of Aboriginal children involved in CP and youth justice systems. This study will:

-identify policy alternatives to support prevention, early intervention and diversion for existing and prospective crossover children; and
-inform future policy and service delivery approaches across the broad spectrum of services that engage with crossover children.

The findings of the study will contribute a range of policy options to identify early intervention strategies, reduce the overrepresentation of Aboriginal children across child protection and youth justice systems as well as identify new, culturally relevant practice approaches for statutory and non-statutory services to work more effectively with this cohort to prevent criminal behaviour and reduce recidivism and to determine efforts to reduce systemic disadvantage faced by children and child protection and youth justice system interaction.
Effective start/end date28/03/2428/12/25


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