Families With Service Needs (FWSN)

Families with Service Needs

Status offenses are behaviors that are troubling in young people but are not crimes, behaviors like truancy, running away and defying parents. In Connecticut, the system for addressing status offenses is called Families With Service Needs. Recent reforms have further decriminalized FWSN cases, assuring kids get help – not detention.


FWSN Advisory Board Website

State site with legislation and committee reports.

From Courts to Communities: The Right Response to Truancy, Running Away, and Other Status Offenses

2013, The Vera Institute of Justice. Policy recommendations for responding to status offenses that emphasize family engagement and other alternatives to court-system involvement. LINK

National Standards for the Care of Youth Charged with Status Offenses

2013, The Coalition for Juvenile Justice. Outlines in detail the research-based best practices for responding to age-based offenses such as truancy, running away, or violation of curfew.LINK

The Justice Research Center: Process and Outcome Evaluation of the 2007-09 Connecticut Families with Service Needs Initiative, March 2010

The Final Process and Outcome Evaluation Report includes a brief description of the Families with Service Needs initiative; an overview of the four operating Family Support Centers; a review of the research methodology; a discussion of the process and outcome evaluations; and some suggestions on how these results can be used to inform future FWSN interventions. PDF, 3.6 MB

CT Legal Services: Juvenile Justice and Special Education

This 2006 presentation discusses the connections among Special Education, Family with Service Needs cases, and Juvenile Justice. PowerPoint, 153 KB

Family With Service Needs (FWSN) Protocol

The joint FWSN protocol between the Court Support Services Division of the Judicial Branch and the Department of Children & Families. The protocol provides effective diversion from the juvenile justice system and provides speedy and complete access to necessary services. PDF, 3.33 MB

FWSN Advisory Board Report

The final report of the Families with Service Needs Advisory Board is now complete. PDF, 1.48 MB

Total Annual FWSN Referrals by Gender 2005-08. PDF, 74 kB