Faculty & Staff

Back to Publications

Final Report: Evaluation of Specialized Treatment Programs for Dually Served Youth

Publication Link 0


at risk youth, juvenile justice, specialized treatment programs,dually served youth


Lodi Rohrer


Dually served youth refers to minors who are involved, or at risk of involvement, with both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems (Wright, Spohn, Chenane, & Juliano, 2017). These youth are considered a vulnerable population because they have a greater number of risk factors, fewer protective factors, and a wider range of unmet needs than youth involved in only one system (Wright et al., 2017). Dually served youth also are more likely to have poor outcomes, such as an earlier onset of delinquent behavior, more juvenile detention stays, higher out-of-home placement rates, and more frequent placement disruptions (Halemba & Siegel, 2011; Ryan, 2006). These findings have raised concerns about how to best address the unique needs of this population.

The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) issued awards to three service providers to implement specialized treatment programs for dually served youth beginning in December 2017. Each program provides a wide range of intensive short-term services that includes individualized treatment plans, counseling, case management, parenting skills training, mobile crisis support, and follow-up services. The goal of the programs is to ensure permanency and a successful transition from juvenile justice facilities.

In February 2018, DCF contracted with the University of South Florida to conduct an independent evaluation of the specialized treatment programs. The evaluation team utilized a mixed methods approach consisting of focus groups with administrators and front-line staff, case file reviews of completed or nearly completed cases, collection of administrative data from each agency, and longitudinal surveys administered to caregivers and youth at two time points. This report presents results by these analytic approaches and offers recommendations for consideration by DCF and the providers.


Lodi Rohrer

Flandra Ismajli

Melissa Johnson

John Robst

Sophie James


Rohrer, L., Ismajli, F., Johnson, M., Robst, J., & James, S. (2019, July). Final report: Evaluation of specialized treatment programs for dually served youth. Tampa, FL: University of South Florida.

Faculty & Staff