• April 2004
  • Vol. 5, No. 3

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Addressing the Relationship Between Child Maltreatment and Juvenile Delinquency

The Juvenile Justice Division of the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) has gathered evidence on the connection between child maltreatment and juvenile delinquency in a recently published monograph, Understanding Child Maltreatment and Juvenile Delinquency: From Research to Effective Program, Practice, and Systemic Solutions.

Part 1 of the monograph reviews four studies that documented the relationship between childhood victimization and delinquent behavior. Part 2 reviews program efforts that have been implemented to break this cycle of violence. Some examples of successful programs include:

  • Home visitation by a nurse to at-risk mothers during their pregnancy
  • High-quality preschool that includes a home visitation component
  • Response to child abuse or neglect that engages the family in service plan development
  • Response to early delinquency through assessment, integration of service delivery, and community support
  • Multisystemic therapy for serious juvenile offenders

The publication also calls for more widespread changes in policies and systems to meet the needs of all children in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. To justify the costs of these programs, the report cites studies that measure the costs of early intervention against the much greater costs of later crime, incarceration, and child abuse.

The monograph can be found on the CWLA website at www.cwla.org/programs/juvenilejustice/ucmjd.htm.

Related Items

More information about the relationship between child maltreatment and juvenile delinquency can be found in previous issues of Children's Bureau Express:

  • "Disproportionality in Juvenile Justice System May Have Roots in Child Welfare" (December 2002/January 2003)
  • "New Report Examines the Link Between Childhood Maltreatment and Juvenile Delinquency" (November/December 2001)

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