Information Sharing in Dual Supervision of Cases in Both Adult and Juvenile Systems

In the District of Columbia, there are several hundred individuals with matters pending simultaneously in both the Family Court and the Criminal Division of the D.C. Superior Court. A person in this circumstance is likely to be under the jurisdiction of several agencies receiving supervision and case management services in the adult and juvenile systems. This creates challenges in the efficiency and effectiveness of the supervision and case management of these individuals; and calls for collaboration so that services provision can be stronger, duplication can be reduced, and resources can be optimized. This hinges significantly on information sharing among these agencies in such a way that serves the best interest of public safety, the rehabilitation of the person, and the protection of confidential information.

The District has a Memorandum of Understanding in place since 2011 that outlines information sharing among the D.C. Superior Court’s Court Social Services Division (CSS), D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS), Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA), and PSA. Efforts are now underway to expand this to include the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA).

In the District of Columbia, a person younger than 18 is considered a child. A child charged with committing a delinquent act is adjudicated in the Family Court of the D.C. Superior Court. Children who are pending the trial phase of adjudication get supervision and case management services from CSS. Children who have been adjudicated as delinquents can be under CSS supervision for a period of aftercare (i.e., probation) or managed by DYRS during a period of time determined by the Family Court.  Supervision by either of these agencies can extend past the child’s 18th birthday up to his/her 21st birthday. 

A person older than 18 is considered an adult and, when charged with a criminal offense under the D.C. Code, is handled in the Criminal Division of the D.C. Superior Court. If released pending trial, he/she may be supervised by PSA. CSOSA is responsible for supervision of anyone released on probation, parole, or supervised release. In addition, CSOSA is responsible for the supervision of juveniles with traffic offenses and civil protection orders.

CFSA is the District agency that handles abuse and neglect cases and has jurisdiction over these cases until the individual is 21.

One of the contributions PSA makes to this collaboration is creating a daily report showing those individuals under age 21 that appear on the day’s lock up or citation list and sharing this with CSOSA, CSS, DYRS and CFSA. When a youthful defendant is listed, PSA contacts CSS and/or DYRS to confirm any pertinent information, which is then included in the Pretrial Services Report provided to the judicial officer to assist in setting release conditions.

The collaboration process is facilitated by the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, which has active work groups that include social services agencies. It helps that the District already has a strong collaborative culture across agencies in the criminal justice and social service systems.