The family, schools, and health care delivery systems are the first and most constant systems in most children’s lives. Children who have experienced abuse and neglect, homelessness, chronic poverty, pervasive community violence, or behavioral disorders may also be involved with the child welfare, justice, and mental health systems—sometimes simultaneously. Estimates suggest that 40 percent of youth in child welfare and as many as 70 percent of youth in juvenile justice have an unmet behavioral or mental health need.
AIR’s work with youth-serving systems is always built on a foundation of positive youth development and a commitment to engaging youth and families in solutions. We conduct research to learn what works to strengthen these systems so we can serve youth better and evaluate interventions to measure their impact.
We increase the capacity of government and community agencies in child welfare, juvenile justice, mental health, and homelessness to support the coordination of essential cross-system initiatives. Our research, evaluation, and technical assistance bring public health systems together with justice, child welfare, education, and community agencies to improve practice and increase collaboration with the ultimate goal of preventing youth violence and the mistreatment of children.