Sunday, November 16, 2008

Juvenile Delinquency, Risk Factors, Protective Factors, and Interventions

A Juvenile Delinquent is a child between the ages of 7 and 12 who committs an act that would be considered a crime if committed by an adult. States can make their own laws regarding the age of responsiblity, but by common law the age i 7. In some states it is as old as 10.

A serious child delinquent i a child who has committed "one or more of the following acts: homicide, aggravated assault, robbery, rape, or serious arson."

Other child delinquents have committed a less serious, yet illegal act.

There are also children showing persistent disruptive behavior who have not committed a crime but have shown a pattern of behaviors such as truancy and incorrigibility that puts them at significant risk of offending.

Risk factors are not enough to create juvenile delinquency. Enough protective factors can counteract risk factors.

Individual risk factors : antisocial behaviors, aggression, late language development, lack of attachment to caregivers, hyperactivity, low intelligence, male gender

Family risk factors : divorce, teenage parents, abuse, family history of antisocial behavior, sibling delinquency, and family violence

School risk factors : lack of rule creation and enforcement, repeating grades, truancy, and problems with teachers

Environmental risk factors : rejection by peers, poverty, dangerous neighborhoods, access to weapons, and exposure to older delinquents, including while in juvenile detention

Protective factors : prosocial behavior in early development, such as sharing and helping, stable home environment, good relationship between child and parent(s), likes school

Best Practices: Primary Intervention
Conflict resolution training
parent training
home maker visits for at risk families
after school programs
mentor programs
Wraparound case management services that encompasses all areas of a child's support system
Multi systemic therapy: intensive home-based therapy
Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts (promotes leadership and ethics)
Big Brothers/Big Sisters (strengthens relationships)
Boys and Girls Club (promotes academic achievement and community)
Medications for severe emotional disorders

Best Practices: Secondary and Tertiary Interventions
Reducing contact with peers associated with delinquency and encouraging contact with prosocial peers
Early offender programs, specific to regional areas

Adapted from:
Anderson, J.; Barton, W.H.; Bealke, J.; Blackman, L.; Jarjoura, R.; Watkins, E.; Witesman, E.; Littlepage, L.;Wright, E.R. (2006). Evidence-based Practices in Prevention and Treatment for Children and Adolescents: A Report to the Early Intervention Planning Council. Indianapolis: Center for Urban Policy and the Environment.

Loeber, R., Farrington, D.P., and Petechuk, D. (2003). Child delinquency: Early intervention and prevention. Child delinquency bulleting series. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Wasserman, G.A., Keenan, K., Tremblay, R.E., Coie, J.D., Herrenkohl, T.I., Loeber, R., and Petechuk, D. (2003). Risk and protective factors of child delinquency. Child delinquency bulleting series. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

1 comment:

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