Troubled Children and Children in Trouble: Redefining the Role of the Juvenile Court in the Lives of Children

This Essay considers the emerging research in the area of dual-jurisdiction children, often referred to as “crossover kids “-those currently or previously involved in maltreatment proceedings who have also committed delinquent acts. Part I describes the development of the juvenile courts in the early twentieth century. Part II of this Essay questions the need to “track” children along one legal path or another and points to the pitfalls of providing services to some children through a criminal justice paradigm instead of treating all children through a social work paradigm. Finally, Part III advocates a redesign of the juvenile court- a return to its roots- to better enable a court to consider the needs of the whole child, in context with the needs of her/his family.