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November/December 2001Vol. 2, No. 6New Report Examines the Link Between Childhood Maltreatment and Juvenile Delinquency

Statistics show that a large number of incarcerated youth were victims of child abuse and neglect. The July 2001 edition of the Juvenile Justice Bulletin, explores the relationship between childhood maltreatment and the likelihood of juvenile and adult offending.

Published by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), the Bulletin focuses on a number of aspects of this problem, including:

  • Research on the effects of childhood maltreatment, including subsequent offending and other at-risk behaviors
  • OJJDP's Comprehensive Strategy for Serious, Violent, and Chronic Juvenile Offenders, which focuses on delinquency prevention and reform of the juvenile justice system

The main body of the Bulletin focuses on using Structured Decision Making (SDM) as a way to improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of Child Protective Services (CPS) agencies. As explained in the article, SDM comprises research-based assessment tools such as:

  • Response priority assessment to determine how quickly to respond to a referral.
  • Safety assessment to determine if there are any immediate threats to the child's safety.
  • Risk assessment based on outcomes of actual cases.

A risk assessment scale used in California and the implementation of a SDM system in Michigan are presented as exemplary models. "By reducing the extent of maltreatment experienced by children, the SDM model can make a significant contribution to breaking the link between abuse and delinquency," conclude the authors.

Access a copy of the OJJDP Bulletin, Preventing Delinquency Through Improved Child Protection Services in HTML or PDF format online at:

Related Item

For descriptions of other new Clearinghouse acquisitions, see the Resources section in the current issue of the Children's Bureau Express.