Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 454–465 | Cite as

Adolescent Neglect, Juvenile Delinquency and the Risk of Recidivism

  • Joseph P. Ryan
  • Abigail B. Williams
  • Mark E. Courtney
Empirical Research

Abstract

Victims of child abuse and neglect are at an increased risk of involvement with the juvenile justice and adult correctional systems. Yet, little is known about the continuation and trajectories of offending beyond initial contact with law enforcement. Neglect likely plays a critical role in continued offending as parental monitoring, parental rejection and family relationships are instrumental in explaining juvenile conduct problems. This study sought to determine whether neglect is associated with recidivism for moderate and high risk juvenile offenders in Washington State. Statewide risk assessments and administrative records for child welfare, juvenile justice, and adult corrections were analyzed. The sample was diverse (24 % female, 13 % African American, 8 % Hispanic, 5 % Native American) and included all moderate and high risk juvenile offenders screened by juvenile probation between 2004 and 2007 (n = 19,833). Official records from child protection were used to identify juvenile offenders with a history of child neglect and to identify juvenile offenders with an ongoing case of neglect. Event history models were developed to estimate the risk of subsequent offending. Adolescents with an ongoing case neglect were significantly more likely to continue offending as compared with youth with no official history of neglect. These findings remain even after controlling for a wide range of family, peer, academic, mental health, and substance abuse covariates. Interrupting trajectories of offending is a primary focus of juvenile justice. The findings of the current study indicate that ongoing dependency issues play a critical role in explaining the outcomes achieved for adolescents in juvenile justice settings. The implications for improved collaboration between child welfare and juvenile justice are discussed.

Keywords

Neglect Delinquency Recidivism Adolescence 

References

  1. Bolger, K. E., & Patterson, C. J. (2001). Developmental pathways from child maltreatment to peer rejection. Child Development, 72, 549–568.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cashmore, J. (2011). The link between child maltreatment and adolescent offending: Systems neglect of adolescents. Family Matters, 89, 31–41.Google Scholar
  3. Cook, L. J., Olson, L. M., & Dean, J. M. (2001). Probabilistic record linkage: Relationships between file sizes, identifiers and match weights. Methods of Information in Medicine, 40, 196–203.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Erickson, M. F., & Egeland, B. (2002). Child neglect. In J. Briere, L. Berliner, C. T. Hendrix, C. Jenny, & T. Reid (Eds.), The APSAC handbook on child maltreatment (2nd ed., pp. 3–20). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  5. Furstenberg, F., & Hughes, M. (1995). Social capital and successful development among at-risk youth. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57, 580–592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Greenwood, P. (2006). Changing lives: Delinquency prevention as crime control policy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  7. Harris, P. W., Lockwood, B., & Mengers, L. (2009). A CJCA white paper: Defining and measuring recidivism. Retrieved from http://www.cjca.net.
  8. Herz, D. C., Ryan, J. P., & Bilchik, S. (2010). Challenges facing crossover youth: An examination of juvenile-justice decision making and recidivism. Family Court Review, 48, 305–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hoeve, M., Dubas, J. S., Eichelsheim, V. I., Van der Laan, P. H., Smeenk, W. H., & Gerris, J. R. M. (2009). The relationship between parenting and delinquency: A meta-analysis. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 37, 749–775.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hymel, K. (2006). When is lack of supervision neglect? Pediatrics, 118, 1296–1298.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ireland, T., Smith, C. A., & Thornberry, T. P. (2002). Developmental issues in the impact of child maltreatment on later delinquency and drug use. Criminology, 40, 359–399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kelly, G., & McSherry, D. (2002). Adoption from care in Northern Ireland: Problems in the process. Child and Family Social Work, 7, 297–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kerr, M., Stattin, H., & Burk, W. J. (2010). A reinterpretation of parental monitoring in longitudinal perspective. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 20, 39–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lanius, R., Vermetten, E., & Pain, C. (2011). The impact of early life trauma on health and disease: The hidden epidemic. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Loeber, R., & Stouthamer–Loeber, M. (1986). Family factors as correlates and predictors of Juvenile conduct problems and delinquency. In M. Tonry & N. Morris (Eds.), Crime and justice: An annual review of research. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  16. Mills, R., Alati, R., O’Callaghan, M., Najman, J., Williams, G., Bor, W., et al. (2010). Child abuse and neglect and cognitive function at 14 years of age: Findings from a birth cohort. Pediatrics, 127, 4–10.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mossal, E., & Dubois-Comtois, K. (2011). Efficacy of a home-visiting intervention aimed at improving maternal sensitivity, child attachment, and behavioral outcomes for maltreated children: A randomized control trial. Development and Psychopathology, 23, 195–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. (2011a). Highlights from pathways to desistance: A longitudinal study of serious adolescent offenders. United States Department of Justice: Washington D.C. http://www.ojjdp.gov/pubs/236477.pdf.
  19. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. (2011b). Juvenile Arrests 2009. United States Department of Justice: Washington D.C. http://www.reclaimingfutures.org/sites/blog.reclaimingfutures.org/files/userfiles/Juvenile_Justice_Adolescent_Serious_Offenders.pdf.
  20. Ryan, J. P. (in press). Substitute care in child welfare and the risk of arrest: Does the type of placement matter? Child Maltreatment.Google Scholar
  21. Ryan, J. P., Herz, D., Hernandez, P., & Marshall, J. (2007). Maltreatment and delinquency: Investigating child welfare bias in juvenile justice processing. Children and Youth Services Review, 29, 1035–1050.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ryan, J. P., & Testa, M. F. (2005). Child maltreatment and juvenile delinquency: Investigating the role of placement and placement instability. Children and Youth Services Review, 27, 227–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Schumacher, S. (2007). Probabilistic versus deterministic data matching: Making an accurate decision, information management special reports. http://www.information-management.com/specialreports/20070118/1071712-1.html.
  24. Smith, C. A., & Thornberry, T. P. (1995). The relationship between childhood maltreatment and adolescent involvement in delinquency. Criminology, 33, 451–481.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Smith, Carolyn A., Thornberry, Terence P., & Ireland, Timothy O. (2004). Adolescent maltreatment and its impact: Timing matters. The Prevention Researcher, 11, 7–11.Google Scholar
  26. Stein, M., Rees, G., Hicks, L., & Gorin, S. (2009). Neglected adolescents—Literature review (Research brief), London: DSCF. https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/standard/publicationdetail/page1/DCSF-RBX-09-04.
  27. Stewart, A., Livingston, M., & Dennison, S. (2008). Transitions and turning points: Examining the links between child maltreatment and juvenile offending. Child Abuse and Neglect, 32, 51–66.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Thornberry, T. P., Ireland, T. O., & Smith, C. A. (2001). The importance of timing: The varying impact of childhood and adolescent maltreatment on multiple problem outcomes. Development and Psychopathology, 13, 957–979.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Vuchinich, S., Ozretich, R., Pratt, C., & Kneedler, B. (2002). Problem-solving communication in foster families and birth families. Child Welfare, 81, 571–595.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Wald, M. (1976). State intervention on behalf of neglected children: Standards for removal of children from their homes, monitoring the status of children in Foster care and termination of parental rights. Stanford Law Review, 28, 637.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP). (1999). Juvenile court assessment manual, v. 2. http://www.wsipp.wa.gov/rptfiles/99-01-0000.pdf.
  32. Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP). (2004). Assessing the risk for re-offense: Validating the Washington state juvenile court assessment. Olympia, WA. http://www.wsipp.wa.gov/rptfiles/04-03-1201.pdf.
  33. Widom, C. (1989). The cycle of violence. Science, 244, 160–165.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph P. Ryan
    • 1
  • Abigail B. Williams
    • 1
  • Mark E. Courtney
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Social WorkUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.School of Social Service AdministrationUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA

Personalised recommendations