Juvenile Justice Publications
Child Maltreatment and Juvenile Delinquency: Raising the Level of Awareness
Child Welfare League of America
National Center for Program Standards and Development
Juvenile Justice Division
John A. Tuell
The Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) established the Juvenile Justice Division in July 2000, through a grant award from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The objective of the award included "supporting the education of CWLA members on the connections between the child welfare and juvenile justice systems and the need for an integrated approach to programs and services; and reducing the incidence of juvenile delinquency nationwide and reducing the reliance on incarceration for accused or adjudicated delinquent youth." The Juvenile Justice Division will assume a strong position of national leadership in the integrated work of the child welfare and juvenile justice systems by helping frame the national agenda for the future on behalf of children, youth, families, and communities.
This monograph details the mission, vision, values, and goals of the Juvenile Justice Division that form the basis for achieving this objective. It also details CWLA's historical background, current data trends in juvenile justice and child welfare, and specific action steps for the future work of the Juvenile Justice Division. We hope that this information will serve to inform and educate on the connection between child maltreatment and juvenile delinquency. It is also hoped this bulletin will motivate readers to become active participants and partners in the work of the CWLA Juvenile Justice Division and in our effort to improve the lives of our nation's children, youth, and families.
CWLA Juvenile Justice Division
Mission and Vision
CWLA is the nation's oldest and largest membership-based child welfare organization. We are committed to engaging people everywhere in promoting the well-being of children, youth, and families and protecting every child from harm.
We envision a future in which families, communities, organizations, and governments ensure that all children and youth are provided with the resources necessary to develop into healthy, contributing members of society. The Juvenile Justice Division serves the overall mission of CWLA on behalf of children and families involved in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems by:
- Providing national leadership in promoting juvenile justice and child welfare systems coordination and integration.
- Collecting, analyzing, and disseminating information on practices and policies that promote positive youth development.
- Advocating for the implementation of sound legislation, policies, and procedures that contribute to juvenile justice system reform and improvement and to the development of effective delinquency prevention and intervention programs.
- Promoting the development and implementation of effective community-based intervention and treatment alternatives to reduce the reliance on incarceration for delinquent youth.
- Providing consultation, training, and technical assistance resources to implement systems integration and reform and to implement appropriate and effective responses to reduce juvenile delinquency and victimization.
The Juvenile Justice Division of CWLA, with and through its member agencies, supports these core values:
- Every youth and family has value to society.
- Every youth is entitled to nurturance, protection, the chance to develop to his or her full potential, and opportunities to contribute to the common good.
- The family, child welfare system, and the juvenile justice system have specific responsibilities, but society at large shares the responsibility for promoting healthy human development.
- Youth thrive in the context of families, kinship systems, and communities. Our work must recognize and value these connections.
- The agencies and organizations that compose CWLA have come together because we share a common mission and value interdependence. The integration of the child welfare and juvenile justice systems will serve the interests of both systems, the youth and families we serve, and society at large. We know we are stronger by working collaboratively and in coordination.
- System integration and reform is best accomplished through a comprehensive, strategic process that values the inclusion of youth, families, and youth-serving agencies and organizations, which uses the best available information, research, and practices to guide the process.
- The shared values that bind this learning organization include openness, trust, accountability, and a commitment to continuous quality improvement.
The Juvenile Justice Division is committed to working on activities to reduce the incidence of juvenile delinquency nationwide and to reduce reliance on incarceration for delinquent youth through the following:
- Developing and promoting community-based alternatives that support positive youth development while ensuring protection of public safety.
- Developing and disseminating standards of practice as benchmarks for high-quality services that enhance positive youth development, strengthen families and neighborhoods, and improve coordination of the juvenile justice and child welfare systems.
- Advocating for sound legislation and forming and supporting public policies in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems at the national, state, and local levels that contribute to the well-being of youth, families, and communities.
- Promoting effective strategies that enhance systems integration and collaboration through training, consultation, conferences, publications, and other services.
- Ensuring that all juvenile justice and child welfare services are provided in a manner that demonstrates respect for the diversity of our nation.
- Promoting an open exchange of data, resources, and ideas across all systems that serve children, youth, and families and serving as a conduit for that information.
- Serving people and the child welfare and juvenile justice systems by continually strengthening our member agencies and this, their national organization.
CWLA traces its beginnings to the 1909 White House Conference on the Care of Dependent Children, which resulted in recommendations to establish the U.S. Children's Bureau and a national organization of child-helping agencies and institutions. Eventually, proposals to develop a national organization were put forth, which led to the birth of CWLA, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that opened its doors in New York City on January 2, 1921. Throughout its history, CWLA has demonstrated leadership in developing standards of excellence in the full range of services in the child welfare system.
Currently, CWLA is an association of more than 1,160 public and not-for-profit agencies devoted to improving life for more than 3.5 million at-risk children and their families. CWLA maintains revised standards of excellence for 13 service areas and operates a number of related initiatives reflecting the changing world of child welfare. CWLA member agencies are involved with prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect and also provide various services in addition to child protection. These areas of service include adoption, family foster care, kinship care, juvenile justice system services, positive youth development programs, residential group care, child care, family-centered practice, and programs for pregnant and parenting teenagers.
With the arrival of Shay Bilchik in 2000 as CWLA's ninth executive director, the league has renewed its commitment and continued its advocacy and leadership on behalf of children and families. CWLA launched an ambitious 10-year strategic plan, Making Children a National Priority, to guide its efforts through the first decade of the 21st century and help the League realize its vision. The strategy has three interrelated elements that will assist in accomplishing this effort. These elements are (1) establishing a national framework, (2) strengthening and promoting methods that move research to practice, and (3) building strategic relationships.
CWLA will lead the development of a national framework that will reflect the essential components of a comprehensive system for reducing the victimization and enhancing the well-being of America's children and youth. CWLA will develop an integrated capacity to provide our members with access to knowledge about proven practices and programs that enhance the well-being of children and youth. The League will then advocate for the widespread implementation of that knowledge at the community level. Finally, CWLA will develop and deepen strategic relationships with traditional and nontraditional partners to strengthen the national voice for children, youth, and families. This effort will include issues such as child welfare, positive child and youth development, childcare, health care, adolescent pregnancy and parenting, managed care, education, employment, community development, homelessness, juvenile justice, and public safety.
Creation of the CWLA Juvenile Justice Division
It is against this backdrop that the Juvenile Justice Division of CWLA was established in July 2000. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation funded development of an initiative that would serve children, youth, and families involved with the child welfare and juvenile justice systems by promoting a positive and integrated approach to addressing the needs of these populations. The MacArthur Foundation provided a grant award to "support the education of CWLA members on the connections between the child welfare and juvenile justice systems and the need for an integrated approach to programs and services."
The initial establishment of the Juvenile Justice Division, one of four divisions within the National Center for Program Standards and Development of CWLA, was framed by two categories of deliverable products required by the grant award. These products included:
This effort and focus clearly parallels the previously delineated goals and is consistent with the broader mission and vision of the Juvenile Justice Division.
Current Trends and Research in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare
- Strengthening internal capacity by developing an organizational structure and staff that promote the ability to achieve the stated mission and goals.
- Strengthening the child welfare and juvenile justice systems by:
- Collecting, analyzing, and disseminating information that promotes understanding of the links between child welfare and juvenile justice.
- Monitoring and analyzing public policy and advocating for what works.
- Promoting the adoption of proven prevention and treatment services through conferences, training and technical assistance, expanded CWLA membership, and the development of guidelines and standards.
As the Juvenile Justice Division embarks on this challenging venture, it is useful to examine some current data trends and research that illustrate the juvenile justice and child welfare landscape.
The growing body of research regarding the connection between child maltreatment and juvenile delinquency leads to the conclusion that "in general, people who experience any type of maltreatment in childhood...are more likely than people who were not maltreated to be arrested later in life" (Widom, 1995, p. 4). Research findings in a study of high-risk male juvenile parolees in three states revealed that the proportion of juveniles who had allegedly been victims of abuse or neglect ranged from 29% in Virginia to 53% in Nevada (Wiebush, McNulty, & Le, 2000).
More recently, in a report released by the National Institute of Justice (Widom & Maxfield, 2001), the study findings revealed that persons who had been abused or neglected as children increased the likelihood of arrest as a juvenile by 59%. More specifically, those abused or neglected as children were more likely than a non-abused or non-neglected group to be arrested as juveniles (27% vs. 17%), adults (42% vs. 33%), and for a violent crime (18% vs. 14%). This report (Widom & Maxfield, 2001) also resulted in findings that abused and neglected cases were younger at first arrest (mean = 16.5 vs. 17.3 years), committed nearly twice as many offenses (mean = 2.4 vs. 1.4), and were arrested more frequently (17% of abused and neglected cases vs. 9% of comparison cases had more than five arrests).
There are some encouraging and discouraging trends reflected in the following data. Although there is clear and convincing evidence that there is a downward turn in virtually every major category of juvenile delinquency, the data also reflect disturbing numbers of children who are the victims of abuse and neglect. Although the decrease in delinquency reflects a greater national focus on the issue and the use of more effective programs to attack the problem, it is clear we must do more. The research has increasingly established and reaffirmed the connection between abuse and neglect, and juvenile delinquency. If we are to achieve our mission and goals for the nation's children, youth, and families and see even more substantial reduction in juvenile delinquency, our goal to more effectively integrate the juvenile justice and child welfare systems becomes imperative.
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) published the Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 1999 National Report, which reflects the continuing decline in violent juvenile crime and overall juvenile delinquent activity. Although there were alarming increases in juvenile delinquency from 1987 through 1993, the past six years have seen equally remarkable declines. Some highlights from that report include:
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families produced 10 Years of Reporting, Child Maltreatment 1999, providing accurate and timely statistical data to inform child welfare practitioners and researchers about child maltreatment. Some of the report's significant findings include:
- Homicides committed by youth declined 68% from 1993 to 1999.
- The number of juvenile arrests declined in every violent crime category, despite an 8% growth in the juvenile population from 1993 to 1999.
- The juvenile Violent Crime Index arrest rate (murder, non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) was at its lowest level since 1988-36% below its peak year in 1994.
- Between 1994 and 1999, the juvenile Property Crime Index (burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson) rate dropped nearly 30% to its lowest level since the 1960s.
- The 1998 National Crime Victimization Survey reflected the lowest juvenile crime rate in 25 years.
- Of reported juvenile murders in 1997, 1 in 4 occurred in just five of the more than 3,000 counties in the United States.
- In 1999, firearms were responsible for slightly more than 1,000 murdered juveniles (81%).
- One-third of 1% of juveniles were arrested for a violent crime in 1999.
- Police arrested 670,000 females in 1999, reflecting a dramatic increase since the 1980s and early 1990s. This number now accounts for 27% of all juvenile arrests.
- The juvenile population in 1999 was 79% white. In contrast, 41% of juvenile arrests for violent crime involved black youth. Black youth were also overrepresented in juvenile property crime arrests.
OJJDP also published "School Violence: An Overview" in the Juvenile Justice Journal (Vol. 8, No. 1, June 2001), reporting the following:
- There were an estimated 3,000,000 referrals for child maltreatment in 1999; 29.2% resulted in a disposition of substantiated or indicated child maltreatment (a total of 826,000 victims nationwide).
- In 1999, at least one parent maltreated 87.3% of victims.
- In 1999, an estimated 1,100 children died of abuse and neglect, a rate of approximately 1.62 deaths per 100,000 children in the general population, which has remained stable over the past five years.
- Children younger than one year accounted for 42.6% of the child maltreatment fatalities, and 86.1% of fatalities were younger than 6 years of age.
- It is estimated that 568,000 children were in foster care.
The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics released the fifth report in their series, America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2001, and some of the significant findings are:
- Less than 1% of the 1,350 children who were murdered during the 1998-1999 school year were killed at school (e.g., killed on school property or on the way to or from school).
- The number of incidents in which a child or adult was murdered or committed suicide at school declined by 27% from the 1995-1996 school year to the 1998-1999 school year.
- The number of school students who were victims of nonfatal crimes at school declined from 3.4 million in 1992 to 2.7 million in 1998.
- Students are 2.3 times more likely to be victims of serious violent crimes while away from school.
- Between 1993 and 1999, the number of students in high school who reported carrying a weapon to school on one or more days during the previous month declined from 12% to 7%.
- School-associated violent deaths declined by 72% from 1992 to 1999.
- Of high school students, 4% missed at least one day of school in the past month because they felt unsafe at school or when traveling to or from school.
These highlights offer a snapshot of the issues that confront all child-, youth-, and family-serving organizations as we move into the 21st century. There is increasingly more data available in the child welfare and juvenile justice fields that are contributing to advanced levels of trend analysis. The numbers illustrate complex concerns that we must address collaboratively through the formation of strategic partnerships and multisystem approaches.
- In 2000, 70.4 million children lived in the United States, or 26% of the total population. Children are projected to remain a stable percentage of the total population, comprising 24% of the population in 2020.
- The poverty rate for children living with family members continued to decline from 18% in 1998 to 16% in 1999. This is the lowest rate since 1979.
- In 1999, the adolescent birth rate was at a record low of 29 births per 1,000 young women ages 15 to 17.
- Since the peak years of illicit drug use between 1992 and 1996, the disturbing rates of use (e.g., 23% among 10th-graders) have remained stable.
- Approximately 4 million youth suffer from a major mental illness resulting in significant impairments at home, in school, and with peers; it is estimated that 1 in 5 youth in the juvenile justice system has serious mental health problems.
- The percentage of infants born with low birth weight was 7.6% in 1999. This is the highest rate since 1973.
The available research confirms that the link between the populations served in the child welfare system and populations that subsequently become involved in the juvenile justice system are significant. The data presented above reflect the ongoing issues and problems that are present in multiple domains affecting the well-being of our children and youth.
The research findings from Widom and Maxfield (2001) provide further clarity for the argument that supports the need for system integration, deepening strategic partnerships, and collaborative efforts. A second phase of the research was designed to address many of the questions regarding the range of consequences and potential effects of childhood maltreatment and victimization. The findings indicate that other negative outcomes may also be common. These outcomes include: mental health concerns (suicide attempts and posttraumatic stress disorder), educational problems (extremely low IQ scores and reading ability), occupational difficulties (high rates of unemployment and employment in low-level service jobs), and public health and safety issues (prostitution in males and females and alcohol problems in females).
As we examine the declining delinquency rates, it is important to understand that the current rates still exceed the high rates of delinquency established in the 1980s, before the dramatic increase experienced in the late 1980s and early 1990s. As we examine the relatively stable rates of reported illicit drug use, it is important to understand that these rates are stable from the years between 1992 and 1996. The data reflect that child victimization rates decreased from 12.6 to 11.8 per 1,000 children from 1998 to 1999 and that only 29.2% of referrals for child maltreatment resulted in a disposition of substantiated or indicated child maltreatment. However, this still resulted in nearly 1 million child victims, and an estimated 1,100 of those instances resulted in death. As we examine the encouraging 2% decline in child poverty from 1998 to 1999, it is important to know that poverty rates for the rest of the 1990s were consistently higher-approximately 20% to 23%. All of these rates remain too high. We know that these factors will negatively affect the well-being of children, youth, and families in the areas cited in the research.
In summary, there is reason for optimism and hope in some of the data trends. However, there is also evidence that we must redouble our efforts to implement systems integration and form strategic partnerships across all domains to achieve positive outcomes.
Framing the Agenda
Action Steps for the Future of the Juvenile Justice Division
The mission and goals of the Juvenile Justice Division of CWLA have already been defined in this document and in the CWLA strategic plan; the link between child maltreatment and juvenile delinquency has been demonstrated and documented. It is the intention of the Juvenile Justice Division to help frame the national agenda for the future and to assume a strong position of leadership in the integrated fields of child welfare and juvenile justice. It is therefore our charge to put forth action steps that move us toward achievement of the articulated goals and objectives of the Juvenile Justice Division. The exciting and energizing challenge already has some positive foundations on which we may build.
Raising the Level of Knowledge Regarding the Link Between Child Maltreatment and Juvenile Delinquency
We will broadly disseminate information regarding the link between child maltreatment and juvenile delinquency to the juvenile justice and child welfare systems to raise the level of awareness on this critical connection and associated negative outcomes and to create a dialogue between the systems. The Juvenile Justice Division will also educate the field on the broad range of necessary interrelationships and strategic partnerships between these systems. In addition, the Juvenile Justice Division will also build the capacity to assist states and local communities in defining the extent of the link in their systems and in examining the key decision points at which successful policy and program actions may be developed and implemented.
Bringing Research to Practice-Advancing the Cause of Developing and Implementing Best Practices
The available field of knowledge for best practices and proven effective programs to enhance communities' efforts to develop prevention, early intervention, and appropriate community-based alternatives to incarceration and out-of-home care is expanding. Working through and with CWLA member agencies and related partners, the Juvenile Justice Division will take that knowledge and expand it to develop and implement best practices and proven effective programs.
Numerous examples of this expanded knowledge are currently available. OJJDP supported the Blueprints for Violence Prevention series, which put forth a set of programs that withstood rigorous evaluation and met a high scientific standard of program effectiveness. There is training and technical assistance available to replicate these programs in local communities.
The Communities That Care Prevention Strategies: A Research Guide to What Works developed in 1996 and updated in 2000 by Developmental Research and Programs also puts forth a range of research-based strategies. The meta-analysis, What 500 Intervention Studies Show About the Effects of Intervention on the Recidivism of Juvenile Offenders, an article presented at the Annual Conference on Criminal Justice Research and Evaluation in July 2000, is also an enlightening article highlighting characteristics of effective programs. The Very Young Offender Study Group Findings (Loeber & Farrington, 2001) is another important research effort that will be highlighted in a series of bulletins distributed by OJJDP.
This is a small sample of the available publications that assist communities in identifying and adopting best practices in prevention and early intervention efforts. Another example of promising activity is the work of Janet Wiig, PhD, in the area of targeted early intervention programming for the very young offender. This work is documented in Delinquents Under 10: Targeted Early Intervention, (Wiig & Lahti-Johnson, 1998) the Phase 2 evaluation report of work begun in this area in 1995. It is clear from this excellent work about the connection between child maltreatment and juvenile delinquency that this effort needs to be further developed. In addition, the Vera Institute of Justice in New York City is sponsoring its Project Confirm. On the heels of the study findings from Adolescent Pathways (Armstrong, 1998), Project Confirm evolved as a notification and court conferencing system for foster care youth who are arrested or detained. The project staff work with court service personnel (e.g., probation officers) and social service staff (e.g., caseworkers) to explore existing or new placement alternatives for those persons appropriate for release. Simultaneously, the project staff identify neighborhood intervention services on behalf of the youth. This effort is described as a process of reeducation, one in which the juvenile justice and foster care systems learn to interact effectively.
Internally, the Juvenile Justice Division is working with the National Center for Research and Data of CWLA to develop the CWLA Research to Practice Initiative. We will build the capacity to rigorously evaluate existing programs. This will result in the provision of consultation and technical assistance in developing and implementing effective programs in states and local communities. CWLA is identifying empirically based methods of providing individual, family, and community services and is advocating for their widespread implementation. The effort is accomplished by establishing criteria for rigorous evaluations, broadly disseminating information, promoting inclusive discussions of possible application, and supporting proficient adaptation of the methods to diverse communities. The Research to Practice Initiative focuses on identifying the best practices and programs in child welfare, juvenile justice, and other related fields.
In summary, the Juvenile Justice Division will be working to disseminate information regarding available research publications and grassroots program efforts evaluated by the field while collaborating with the National Center for Research and Data to develop CWLA's Research to Practice Initiative.
Monitoring, Analyzing, and Promoting Sound Public Policy and Legislation
The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 (JJDP), the Juvenile Accountability Incentive Block Grant (JAIBG) program passed in 1997, the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA), the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) block grant, the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Act (CAPTA), and the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) are examples of critical statutes subject to constant review and revision on Capitol Hill. With each new Congress, there is also the introduction of new legislation that could positively or negatively affect the practice and implementation of our efforts in the fields of juvenile justice and child welfare. There are also many legislative and statutory actions in states and local jurisdictions affecting our work that demand national leadership and strong advocacy either for or against to guide decision-making (e.g., transfer or waiver, death penalty for juveniles, gun violence).
Currently, a variety of relevant collaborative efforts and coalitions look to the CWLA Government Affairs Division for direction, guidance, leadership, and advocacy. CWLA's Juvenile Justice Division is partnering with the Government Affairs Division to keep the field informed, participate in relevant organizational efforts in matters of legislation and policy development, and solicit input from an informed field of practitioners and community leaders to help shape these positions. For example, CWLA successfully partnered with the Florida Children's Campaign, and through the funding initiative of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, strategically mobilized concerned citizens and influential community leaders to redirect juvenile justice policy in Florida. This continuing effort helped redirect resources away from overreliance on juvenile waiver to criminal court and incarceration to a more balanced community-based approach that allows greater funding for education, prevention, early intervention programming, crisis intervention, and counseling services.
The Juvenile Justice Division, with and through its member agencies, is actively engaged in this type of monitoring, analysis, and advocacy for sound legislation, policy development, and implementation in states and communities throughout the United States.
Building Strategic Partnerships to Develop, Support, and Implement Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Systems Integration and Reform
For more than a decade, the child welfare and juvenile justice systems have been advocating for comprehensive services developed through a planning process that includes a broad array of child-, youth-, and family-serving agencies and that uses data, research, and outcome-focused services. The Guide for Implementing the Comprehensive Strategy for Serious, Violent, and Chronic Juvenile Offenders (Wilson & Howell, 1995) states "It is important that juvenile delinquency prevention and intervention programs are integrated...and that these programs reflect local community determinations" (p. 9). It also says that "establishing community planning teams that include a broad base of participants drawn from local government and the community will help create consensus on priorities and services to be provided as well as build support for a comprehensive program approach" (p. 9). In Rethinking Child Welfare Practice Under the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2000), the principles and elements of "good practices in child welfare" include comprehensive services that address a broad range of family conditions, needs, and contexts. These services are developed through a community partnership orientation and provide for measurable outcomes for services regarding the safety, permanency, and well-being of children.
The OJJDP Comprehensive Strategy Training and Technical Assistance Initiative served as one example of putting this approach to work on a national scale. In more than a dozen states and 60 communities, the training and technical assistance project used a four-phase ongoing planning process that included mobilization, assessment, planning, and implementation of a comprehensive strategic plan for the local community. The effort brought together child welfare, juvenile justice, education, law enforcement, courts and the judiciary, parents, and youth in the endeavor to develop a coordinated approach to the prevention of delinquency and protection of the community through an effective system of graduated sanctions.
There are also excellent state-level examples of effective strategic partnerships being implemented. In November 1999, Oregon governor John Kitzhaber signed into law SB555, which called for common planning principles across different state systems, directed development of mechanisms to coordinate data collection and analysis among agencies, merged reporting processes, established an early childhood interagency team to streamline services, and called for a comprehensive juvenile crime prevention screening tool. The state of Iowa's Youth Development Collaborative began work more than a decade ago to "decategorize" or consolidate funding to eliminate inefficient use of resources. Iowa's county-based "Decat" boards plan and allocate state and federal resources to meet prevention, intervention, and enforcement needs. The broad array of social services, juvenile justice, school districts, and other agencies are tracking progress toward secure families; safe and supportive schools; engaged, healthy, and socially competent youth; and school success.
CWLA and its President/CEO are currently providing a model effort to build strategic partnerships to integrate child-, youth-, and family-serving agencies in the state of Maryland. As the current chair of the state advisory board having responsibility for awarding OJJDP grant program funds, Shay Bilchik has led the drive to coordinate other state and federal funding sources. The process requires that jurisdictions demonstrate a comprehensive and strategic community planning deliberation to establish prioritized needs before applying for and gaining access to these coordinated resources.
It is imperative that the tools for implementing this type of approach be made available to the agencies serving children, youth, and families on a national and local scale. The important elements of this effort include having the enhanced ability to mobilize key decisionmakers, advocating for this approach through a defined and structured process, accessing and developing databases and developing integrated management information systems, facilitating memoranda of understanding across agencies, reviewing and replicating an increasing field of rigorously researched programs, advocating for structured decisionmaking in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems after systematically conducting analysis of key decisionmaking points, and providing consultation, training, and technical assistance.
The Juvenile Justice Division, with and through its member agencies, will continue to promote effective development of strategic partnerships and implementation of comprehensive planning that is driven by data, uses a research base for best practices and program development, and is outcome-focused on both a state and local level. This level of systemic reform is viewed as crucial to the work of the Juvenile Justice Division of CWLA.
The Juvenile Justice Division of CWLA was created in July 2000 under the direction and leadership of the CWLA President/CEO, Shay Bilchik. It was funded through a grant by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to "support the education of CWLA members on the connections between the child welfare and juvenile justice systems and the need for an integrated approach to programs and services."
The work to achieve and accomplish the goals and objectives of the Juvenile Justice Division has been framed by the overall mission and vision of CWLA. The effort is coordinated with the ambitious, long-term strategic plan of CWLA, "Making Children a National Priority." The goals work effectively with the three related elements of the CWLA strategy: (1) establishing a national framework regarding the essential components and characteristics of a comprehensive system for effectively reducing the victimization and enhancing the well-being of America's children and youth, (2) strengthening and promoting methods that move research to practice, and (3) building strategic relationships and developing multisystem approaches.
The Juvenile Justice Division initiated work by forming a National Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice with broad national representation, and developing educational and informational publications (e.g., The Link; a quarterly newsletter; a fact sheet describing the division; a presentation of the information contained in this publication; a summarized list of current, relevant publications that serve to clarify the connection between child maltreatment and juvenile delinquency; and a comprehensive literature review on the connection between child maltreatment and juvenile delinquency). The work of the division also includes presenting workshops and providing training at CWLA national and regional conferences and other youth-serving and juvenile justice organization conferences and events, planning for a CWLA-sponsored national summit on juvenile justice and child welfare, establishing liaisons with other youth-service and juvenile justice organizations, and developing a dynamic and informative new juvenile justice link to the CWLA homepage.
The challenging and exciting work in behalf of children, youth, families, and communities remains ahead for all of us working for the improved integration and enhancement of the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. The scope and nature of the work ahead is far reaching and ambitious.
The CWLA Juvenile Justice Division challenges everyone to actively engage in the effort to create a new level of dialogue and awareness regarding the integration of the child welfare and juvenile justice systems and to participate in framing the agenda for the future as we work to realize our mission and achieve our goals.
If you would like to know more about the Juvenile Justice Division of CWLA and its work, please contact:
John A. Tuell, Director: firstname.lastname@example.org
CWLA Program Office
2345 Crystal Drive, Suite 250
Arlington, VA 22202
- Armstrong, M. L. (1998). Adolescent pathways: Exploring the intersections between child welfare and juvenile justice, PINS, and mental health. New York: Vera Institute of Justice.
- Loeber, R., & Farrington, D. (Eds.). (2001). Child delinquents: Development, interventions, and service needs. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau. (2000). Rethinking child welfare practice under the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.
- Widom, C. S. (1995). Victims of childhood sexual abuse-Later criminal consequences (Research in Brief). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice.
- Widom, C. S., & Maxfield, M. G. (2001). An update on the "cycle of violence" (Research in Brief). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice.
- Wiebush, R., McNulty, B., & Le, T. (2000). Implementation of the intensive community-based aftercare program (Bulletin). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
- Wiig, J., & Lahti-Johnson, K. (1998). Delinquents under 10 in Hennepin County: A research update and program progress report. St. Paul, MN: Amherst Wilder Foundation, Wilder Research Center.
- Wilson, J., & Howell, J. C. (1995). Guide for implementing the comprehensive strategy for serious, violent, and chronic juvenile offenders. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
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