The high rate of adult criminal justice involvement in the United States has resulted in many unintended consequences for families of offenders. Families involved with the criminal justice system are disproportionately involved with the child welfare system, and adolescents involved in both systems (i.e., dual system involvement) exhibit higher levels of delinquency. Yet, a lack of research exists on dual system involvement and the effects on youth. The current study leveraged nationally representative and longitudinal data of families involved in the child welfare system to examine whether maternal criminal justice involvement predicted increases in youth delinquency. An ecological model tested the effects of maternal justice involvement beyond cumulative risks as well as the potential buffer of parental monitoring and non-violent discipline on system involvement. Results suggested child welfare-involved youth exhibited similar levels of delinquency over time, regardless of maternal justice involvement. Although youth with maternal justice involvement reported more parental monitoring, the level of monitoring mattered more for youth without maternal justice involvement who exhibited decreased delinquency in the presence of high parental monitoring compared to low monitoring. The differential pattern of association between parental monitoring and youth delinquency for dual-system involved families suggests they are distinct and may carry implications for treatment response aimed at delinquency reduction through parent training. These findings underscore the importance of interagency coordination around policy and interventions to identify these high risk families at risk of slipping through the cracks of multiple service involvement.
Children and Youth Services Review – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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