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Functional Impairment in Delinquent Youth

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2013
12 pages
Publication Series
This Juvenile Justice Bulletin presents the results of a study examining functional impairment in delinquent youth.
This Juvenile Justice Bulletin from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) presents the results of a study that examined functional impairment in delinquent youth. Highlights of findings from the study include the following: only 7.5 percent of youth had no notable impairment in functioning; approximately one of every five youth had markedly impaired functioning; markedly impaired functioning was much more common in males than in females, however, females were more likely to be severely impaired in the moods/emotions and self-harm domains than males; and among males living in the community, African-Americans and Hispanics were more likely to be severely impaired in school and work than non-Hispanic Whites. The study, the Northwestern Juvenile Project, is a longitudinal study of youth detained at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago, IL, that examines the functional impairment of youth 3 years after their release from detention. Data for the study were obtained from a sample of 1,653 youth who were assessed using the Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale (CAFAS) anywhere from 2.8 to 4.5 years following release from detention. The CAFAS assesses eight domains of functioning: school/work, home, community, behavior toward others, moods/emotions, self-harm, substance use, and thinking. The findings from this study suggest that a significant portion of youth have markedly impaired functioning almost 3 years after detention, indicating a need for improved interventions and care both during detention and post-release. Study limitations and implications for future research are discussed. Tables and references

Date Published: December 1, 2013