دانلود مقاله ISI انگلیسی شماره 38561
عنوان فارسی مقاله

بررسی تعصب رفاه کودکان در پردازش دادرسی نوجوانان: بدرفتاری و بزهکاری

کد مقاله سال انتشار مقاله انگلیسی ترجمه فارسی تعداد کلمات
38561 2007 16 صفحه PDF سفارش دهید محاسبه نشده
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عنوان انگلیسی
Maltreatment and delinquency: Investigating child welfare bias in juvenile justice processing
منبع

Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)

Journal : Children and Youth Services Review, Volume 29, Issue 8, August 2007, Pages 1035–1050

کلمات کلیدی
رفاه کودکان - عدالت نوجوان -
پیش نمایش مقاله
پیش نمایش مقاله بررسی تعصب رفاه کودکان در پردازش دادرسی نوجوانان: بدرفتاری و بزهکاری

چکیده انگلیسی

Abstract There is at least thirty years of research that focuses on the increased risk of delinquency associated with child maltreatment. Yet there are few studies that investigate the outcomes associated with victims of child abuse and neglect beyond the initial arrest. Using child welfare and juvenile justice administrative data from Los Angeles County, the current study investigates the relationship between child welfare status and two judicial outcomes: case dismissal and probation. The results indicate that delinquency cases originating in child welfare are less likely to receive probation, controlling for a wide range of factors including age, gender, race, and type of offense. The results also indicate that the child welfare system is a significant source of overrepresentation for African American youth in juvenile justice. Adolescents simultaneously involved with child welfare and juvenile justice may require alternative arrangements with regard to juvenile justice dispositions and placements.

مقدمه انگلیسی

. Introduction Victims of physical abuse and neglect are at an increased risk of engaging in delinquency. The delinquency rates are approximately 47% greater for youth associated with at least one substantiated report of maltreatment (Ryan & Testa, 2005). Group homes, placement instability, and weak social bonds are the most frequently identified factors associated with delinquency for adolescents in the child welfare system (Brezina, 1998, English et al., 2001, Ryan and Testa, 2005 and Ryan et al., in press). Unfortunately the maltreatment – delinquency literature virtually ends at the point of arrest. The research on the experiences and outcomes associated with victims of maltreatment in the juvenile justice system is limited to one study of detention practices (Conger & Ross, 2001) and one study of anxiety and depression in secure facilities (Gover & MacKenzie, 2003). Thus, many questions remain unanswered. Do victims of child abuse and neglect represent a unique subgroup within the juvenile justice system? What happens to victims of child abuse and neglect subsequent to arrest? Do maltreated youth follow similar pathways through the juvenile justice system relative to their non-maltreated counterparts? The current study addresses these important and unanswered questions. An estimated 2.2 million arrests were made for persons under 18 years of age in 2003. Approximately 92,000 of these arrests were associated with a violent crime (e.g. murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault). Approximately 460,000 of these arrests were associated with a property crime (Snyder, 2005). Although these figures represent a decline in juvenile offending, delinquency continues to be a major social problem. This is especially true for victims of child abuse and neglect, as the risk of delinquency is particularly high for these children. In the current study we focus on adolescents that are simultaneously involved with both child welfare and juvenile justice. We refer to these adolescents as “crossover" youth. For a variety of reasons, placement and placement instability in the child welfare system are the most frequently investigated risk factors associated with delinquency. Substitute care arrangements may protect children from continued maltreatment and the environmental conditions (e.g. family dysfunction, neighborhood crime) associated with delinquency. It is also possible however, that children in substitute care settings may be unintentionally exposed to negative peer groups and thus experience an increase in the likelihood of delinquency (Dodge, Dishion, & Landsford, 2006). Leve and Chamberlain (2005) found that adolescents placed in group homes report more delinquent peer associations as compared to youth placed in foster family homes. Previous research has certainly advanced the knowledge base with regard to the risk factors associated with juvenile offending in child welfare. The current study seeks to build upon prior work by investigating what happens to adolescents in the child welfare system youth once they enter the juvenile justice system. We first investigate whether or not maltreated youth represent a unique subpopulation within the juvenile justice system. We focus specifically on age, race, gender, and offense type. The focus on race permits us to estimate the child welfare's contribution to the overrepresentation of African American youth in juvenile justice. We then investigate the relationship between the individual's status as a child welfare youth and juvenile justice processing. We focus specific attention on two dispositions: case dismissal and probation. 1.1. The problem of overrepresentation The issues of overrepresentation and disparity are of great concern for child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Overrepresentation refers to a situation in which a greater proportion of a specific group is present at a specific stage within the service system. For example, 35% of the children in foster care are African American, yet African American children represent only 15% of the child population (DHHS, 2005). Disparity refers to a situation in which the probability of receiving a specific outcome is contingent upon one's group status. For example, males are more likely to be recommended for formal processing in the juvenile justice system as compared with female offenders. In the current study we explore the child welfare system as a potential source of overrepresentation for African Americans in the juvenile justice system. We also investigate whether a disparity exists for maltreated youth at the time of disposition. The identification of maltreated youth is limited to individuals that are simultaneously involved with formal child welfare services. The child welfare literature is replete with studies of minority overrepresentation and disparity. In fact a recent special issue was devoted entirely to understanding the factors that help explain this phenomenon (Courtney & Skyles, 2003). As part of this special issue, Needell, Brookhart, and Lee (2003) investigate placement decisions for approximately 140,000 substantiated cases of child maltreatment. Controlling for a wide range of covariates including age, reason for maltreatment and neighborhood poverty, African American children were more likely to enter foster care as compared with white or Hispanic children. In a study of disparity on the back end of the child welfare system, Courtney and Harris (2003) investigate the timing and likelihood of reunification for approximately 9000 foster care youth in California. The authors report a disparity with regard to African Americans and the likelihood of reunification but this disparity varied by family structure. African American youth in single parent families were less likely to achieve reunification as compared with white or Hispanic youth. In two parent households, it was only Hispanic families that retained an advantage with regard to the timeliness of reunification. Similar findings are found within the juvenile justice literature. African American youth are more likely to be arrested, more likely to be placed in detention, and less likely to receive mental health services (Leiber and Fox, 2005 and Rawal et al., 2004). The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (2005) estimates that African American youth are arrested at a rate that is nearly five times the rate at which white youth are arrested. The problem of overrepresentation is not limited to a singular county. Of the 42 counties studied in Illinois, 35 (83%) had an overrepresentation of African Americans at the point of arrest. In the current study we merge various administrative records from a large metropolitan county to determine how much the child welfare system contributes to the overrepresentation of African American youth in the juvenile justice system. Prior research suggests that the child welfare system might indeed be a contributing source — as disproportion exists within the child welfare system and the risk of delinquency is significantly increased for African American youth in out of home placement (Ryan & Testa, 2005). Yet the size of this contribution is unknown. That is, what proportion of African American youth in the juvenile justice system originates in child welfare? 1.2. Juvenile justice processing The juvenile justice processing literature focuses on a wide range of issues including the effects of race, gender, poverty, legal representation and family structure on several key decision points including detention and disposition (Bishop and Frazier, 1986, Sarri, 1986 and Wu et al., 1997). There are even cross national comparisons to determine if processing decisions impact future offending (Huizinga, Schumann, Ehret, & Elliott, 2004). Yet, there are no studies that focus on the processing of dependent youth in the juvenile justice system. Thus, courts must cobble together policies and programs based almost exclusively on professional judgment, anecdotal evidence and findings from the general delinquency literature. The problem with this approach is that crossover youth have a unique set of circumstances (e.g. living in substitute care settings, immediate need to simultaneously address issues related to family safety) which may render findings from the general delinquency population irrelevant. For example, approximately 60% of first time juvenile offenders receive probation (Snyder & Sickmund, 2006). It is possible however that probation is not an option for adolescents coming from the child welfare system. Foster families may be unwilling to stay involved with a delinquency case, especially with other foster children in the home. These circumstances may limit courts with regard to the distribution of more severe and secure sanctions. In part, the complications associated with handling cases that are simultaneously dependent and delinquent stem from scant research and a lack of uniform policies and procedures. The processes to handle crossover youth vary widely between states and raise a host of complex legal, jurisdictional and case management issues (Siegel & Lord, 2004). In a review of state policies and practices, Herz (2006) found that the majority of states allow for concurrent jurisdiction. This approach provides opportunities for both child welfare and juvenile justice agencies to remain involved in the child's case — although one agency assumes the responsibility as “lead agency.” Two states (Massachusetts and Kansas) utilize an “on hold” model of jurisdiction. This model requires that child welfare cases remain in suspension while youth receive supervision and services related to delinquency. When a youth no longer requires delinquency court supervision, the case is then reassessed to determine if a child welfare case should be reactivated. Two states (California and Colorado) utilize a separate jurisdiction model. This approach prevents child welfare and juvenile justice agencies from sharing jurisdiction over a child and requires the termination of a child welfare case upon a finding of delinquency. Unfortunately, little is known about which approach is most effective with regard to outcomes in the child welfare (e.g. recurrence of maltreatment) or juvenile justice (e.g. recidivism) system. The maltreatment – delinquency literature focuses almost exclusively on the initial risk of offending. There are a few studies however that focus on victims of child abuse and neglect in the juvenile justice system. The evidence suggests that dependent youth are more likely to experience negative outcomes as compared to non-dependent youth. Researchers at the Vera Institute of Justice examined 13,000 juvenile pre-adjudication detention decisions in New York City between 1997 and 1999 (Conger & Ross, 2001). The authors report that foster youth without prior arrests were more likely to be detained compared to non-dependent delinquent youth. The increase in the likelihood of detention was in part explained by a complete absence of communication between juvenile justice and child welfare. Subsequent to the arrest, front line workers often did not know about the youth's involvement with other social service agencies. Even when child welfare involvement was known, workers often times did not know the appropriate representatives to contact. Thus, without adequate representation or the appearance of a legal guardian, police were required to transport the foster youth to a secure detention facility. The current study extends the work of the Vera Institute by investigating child welfare effects at subsequent decision points within the juvenile justice system. Specifically, the current study addresses the following research questions: 1. What proportion of new arrests is accounted for by adolescents coming directly from the child welfare system? 2. Are the adolescents that originate in the child welfare system different (with regard to child and offending characteristics) from the adolescents that enter the juvenile justice system via other referral sources? 3. Does the individual's status as a child welfare youth impact processing decisions in the juvenile justice system? We focus on case dismissal, probation, and placement. We hypothesize that adolescents coming from the child welfare system will experience more severe sanctions (as measured by dispositions) in the juvenile justice system as compared with non-dependent delinquent youth. Our hypothesis regarding a child welfare bias at disposition emerges from assumptions about the willingness (or lack thereof) of foster parents to remain involved with a delinquency case and from the literature on stereotypes and juvenile justice decision making. Findings from this literature indicate that court officials impose more severe sanctions when individuals are perceived as poor subjects for rehabilitation (Albonetti & Hepburn, 1996) or when youth are not perceived to come from “good” families (Feld, 1999). DeJong and Jackson (1998) explain findings related to family environment as a reluctance or unwillingness to break up intact families. Adolescents in the child welfare system are probably not perceived as coming from “good” families. Moreover, as many of the crossover youth have a history of placements best characterized by instability and truancies (Ryan & Testa, 2005), these youth are likely perceived as poor subjects for rehabilitation. Thus, we anticipate finding a child welfare bias at the time of disposition.

نتیجه گیری انگلیسی

Results Between 2002 and 2005, 69,009 minors were arrested for the first time in Los Angeles County. Of these 69,009 minors, 23% are African American, 57% are Hispanic, 14% are white and 2% are Asian. On average, children were 15.5 years old at the time of their first arrest. Seventy-five percent of first time offenders are male. With regard to types of offending, the majority of youth (71%) are charged with property related offenses. The remaining offense categories include drug related (8%), sexual (3%), threats (3%), weapons related (7%), and violent (16%). These descriptive statistics are displayed in the third column of Table 1. In the first two columns of Table 1 are the descriptive statistics for child welfare and non-child welfare youth. Of the 69,009 first time offenders, 4811 (7%) enter the juvenile justice system via child welfare. These youth have an open child welfare case and are simultaneously involved with probation. Each year approximately 1200 adolescents in the Los Angeles County child welfare system experience their first arrest. This estimate does not include repeat offenders. Table 1. Comparing first time dependent and non-dependent delinquents: (n = 69,009) Dependent Non-dependent Overall Race African American⁎⁎ .46 .21 .23 Hispanic⁎⁎ .39 .59 .57 White⁎⁎ .11 .14 .14 Asian⁎⁎ .01 .02 .02 Sex Female⁎⁎ .37 .24 .25 Male⁎⁎ .63 .76 .75 Type of offense Burglary .18 .17 .17 Drugs⁎⁎ .05 .08 .08 Violent⁎⁎ .22 .16 .16 Sexual⁎⁎ .04 .02 .03 Threats⁎⁎ .05 .03 .03 Weapons⁎⁎ .05 .07 .07 Mean, SD Mean, SD Mean, SD Age at first arrest⁎⁎ 15.0, 1.67 15.6, 1.60 15.5, 1.61 Number of charges at first arrest⁎⁎ 1.24, .60 1.27, .65 1.27, .65 ⁎⁎p < .01. Table options The Chi Square analyses indicate that juvenile delinquents originating in child welfare are significantly different as compared with juvenile delinquents coming from other referral sources (see Table 1). Although nearly all of the comparisons reach statistical significance, the effect sizes vary between comparisons. The largest effects are seen in the comparison of African American youth (46% vs. 21%; χ2 = 1559.2, p < .01; Phi = .15) and Hispanic youth (39% vs. 59%, χ2 = 708.9, p < .01; Phi = .10). We calculate an effect size for each comparison by taking the square root of the Chi Square value divided by the number of cases. The resultant value is known as Phi (Φ). The effect size associated with African American is medium (Φ = .15) and the effect size associated Hispanic is small (Φ = .10). These differences and the associated effect size indicate that the child welfare is a contributing source to the overrepresentation of African American youth in the juvenile justice system. Another way to approach overrepresentation is to compare the overall percentage of delinquency cases originating in child welfare with the percentage of African American youth originating in child welfare. Adolescents originating in child welfare represent 7% of all new arrests between 2002 and 2005. Yet they represent 14% of all new arrests for African Americans between 2002 and 2005. As a point of reference, the overall youth population (persons under 18 years of age) in Los Angeles County in 2003 was 14% African American and 55% Hispanic. With regard to other demographic characteristics, youth originating in the child welfare system are more likely to be female (Φ = .07, small effect) and are significantly younger (Cohen's D = .34, medium effect). With regard to specific offending behaviors, delinquent youth originating in the child welfare system are less likely to be associated with drug or weapons related offenses, and more likely to be associated with sexual, threats, and violent related offenses. 3.1. Child welfare bias and case dismissal The sample for the child welfare bias analyses includes 3067 dependent youth and 3067 non-dependent youth. The PSM procedures produced two groups with similar characteristics. Note that there are no significant differences between the two groups (see Table 2) unlike the pre-match comparisons displayed in Table 1. Table 2. Comparing first time dependent and non-dependent delinquents after PSM: (n = 6134) Dependent Non-dependent Race African American .46 .46 Hispanic .40 .39 White .12 .11 Asian .01 .01 Sex Female .38 .37 Male .62 .63 Type of offense Burglary .19 .20 Drugs .05 .05 Violent .23 .23 Sexual .03 .03 Threats .05 .05 Weapons .06 .07 Mean, SD Mean, SD Age at first arrest 15.1, 1.65 15.0, 1.69 Number of charges at first arrest 1.28, .65 1.30, .65 ⁎⁎p < .01. Table options The regression models are constructed with three blocks: child characteristics, offense characteristics and child welfare status. The regression tables include the estimated odds ratio (Exp(b)). This ratio estimates the change in the odds of membership in the target group (those with a case dismissed) for a one unit increase in the predictor variable. Twenty-four percent of all cases were dismissed. There are three reference groups within the regression models: white and Asian, property crimes (type of offense), and one charge (number of charges associated with first offense). Five variables help explain the probability of having a delinquency case dismissed. Controlling for other covariates including age and type of offense, African American and Hispanic youth are less likely to have their case dismissed as compared with white and Asian youth. The odds of dismissal are .25 less for African American youth and .43 less likely for Hispanic youth. Three offense related variables also help explain whether or not cases are dismissed. Youth with multiple charges (2 or 3 or more) and youth associated with a violent offense were less likely to have their case dismissed. There is no effect associated with an individual's child welfare status. Adolescents coming to juvenile justice from the child welfare system are just as likely to have their first delinquency case dismissed as compared with delinquent offenders coming from other referral sources. That is, there is no child welfare bias with regard to case dismissal ( Table 3). Table 3. Logistic regression: predicting case dismissal (n = 6134) Independent variables Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 b SE Exp(b) b SE Exp(b) b SE Exp(b) Child demographics Age at arrest − .01 .02 0.99 .01 .01 1.00 .01 .02 1.00 African American − .26⁎⁎ .08 0.77 − .30⁎⁎ .09 0.74 − .29⁎⁎ .09 0.75 Hispanic − .54⁎⁎ .09 0.58 − .57⁎⁎ .09 0.56 − .57⁎⁎ .09 0.57 Male − .13⁎ .06 0.88 − .11 .06 0.89 − .12 .06 0.89 Offense related Drugs − .04 .15 0.96 − .04 .15 0.96 Sexual .02 .19 1.02 .02 .19 1.02 Threats .09 .14 1.08 .08 .14 1.09 Weapons .13 .12 1.14 .14 .12 1.15 Violent − .27⁎⁎ .08 0.76 − .27⁎ .08 0.76 Two charges − .26⁎⁎ .09 0.77 − .26⁎ .09 0.77 Three or more charges − .46⁎⁎ .14 0.63 − .46⁎ .14 0.63 Dependency status DCFS involvement .11 .06 1.12 Model Chi Square (df) 44.87 (4)⁎⁎ 79.39 (12)⁎⁎⁎ 82.94 (13)⁎⁎⁎ ⁎⁎p < .01. Table options 3.2. Child welfare bias and probation The results for the multinomial regression analyses are displayed in Table 4. There are three possible groups that represent the following judicial dispositions: probation (66%), suitable placement (16%), and correctional placement (18%). Suitable placements refer to group homes most often supervised by probation. Correctional placements refer to delinquency camps supervised by probation and placement with the California Youth Authority (CYA). The relative probabilities reveal differences between these dispositional groups for DCFS (58% probation, 21% suitable placement, 21% correctional) and non-DCFS youth (73% probation, 11% suitable placement, 16% correctional). The sample used in the regression analyses includes all cases that were not dismissed. The probation group is the contrast group or the group that is “left out” and displayed in the column one for comparison purposes. With regard to the variable of primary interest, youth entering the juvenile justice system via the child welfare system are more likely to receive suitable placement or placement within a correctional setting — even after controlling for important covariates including age, race, gender, and offense type. The size and direction of the coefficient associated with gender indicates that males are more likely to receive suitable placement or enter a correctional placement as compared with female offenders. The race effects are limited to placements in correctional settings. African American and Hispanic youth are more likely to enter a correctional placement as compared with white and Asian youth — even after controlling for a variety of important covariates. There are only a few effects associated with offense type. As compared with property offenders, youth charged with a sex related offense and youth charged with a threat related offense are more likely to receive suitable placement. In contrast, youth charged with a drug related offense are more likely to enter a correctional placement as compared with youth charged with a property related offense. Table 4. Multinomial model: probation vs. suitable placement and corrections (n = 4669) Probation Placement Corrections Coefficients Coefficients Coefficients Child demographics Age at arrest – − .01 .13⁎⁎ African American – .26 .67⁎⁎ Hispanic – .29 .48⁎⁎ Male – − .21⁎ .35⁎⁎ Offense related Drugs – .28 .46⁎ Sexual – 1.85⁎⁎ .13 Threats – .43⁎ .26 Weapons – .15 − .11 Violent – − .30 .05 Two Charges – .07 .14 Three or more charges – − .11 .13 Dependency status DCFS – .87⁎⁎ .53⁎⁎ ⁎p < 0.05, ⁎⁎p < 0.01.

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