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Home > Juvenile Justice Division > Consultation Initiatives > Belknap County Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Systems Integration Initiative


Belknap County Systems Integration Initiative

Historically, across the country and including Belknap County, the two systems that manage child welfare and juvenile justice have operated separately. Each system functions with different funding streams, different statutory mandates, different mission statements, different service plans, and generates different data, making collaboration across the two systems very difficult even when the same children and families are involved. The Belknap County Citizens Council quickly encountered these built-in obstacles when beginning its initial work with the juvenile justice system in 2002.

In 2007, while the Citizens Council was reviewing cost and numbers data from Belknap County child and youth placement services, as part of its first issue brief, "Perspectives on Child Maltreatment, CHINS and Delinquency in Belknap County", one theme emerged. It was clear that the Council should advocate for some type of coordination and integration between these two massive systems so that the needs of children and families could be more efficiently and effectively addressed. The shrinking economy and the resulting massive state, county, and municipal budget cuts all provided an even greater imperative to this goal.

Following some preliminary research, including that of several key national connections already forged through previous Citizen Council projects, the members of the Citizen Council engaged the consultation services of John Tuell to assist with the initial steps toward a systems coordination initiative in Belknap County. Mr. Tuell is the Director of the CWLA Child Welfare-Juvenile Justice System Integration Initiative and the CWLA Project Director for the MacArthur Foundation ModelsforChange: Systems Reform in Juvenile Justice Initiative

The Belknap County Citizens Council is now directing an expansive effort to change the way the child protection and juvenile justice systems work with each other and with families in Belknap County. The broad goal is to develop a process that will identify early problems and then help families find the right programs and services. Systems Integration Initiative work areas and related committees of the Citizens Council include:
  • Administrative Oversight Committee
  • Leadership Executive Committee
  • Data Information and Management Committee
  • Legal and Policy Analysis Committee
  • Professional Advisory Council (PAC/JJAC)
  • Prevention Work Group
  • Resources, Inventory and Assessment Committee
  • Miscellaneous Reports & Information
To learn more about this exciting local and state partnership initiative, please access the Belknap County Systems Integration Initiative at:

Belknap County Citizen's Council home is:

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