U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Status Offenders: Attitudes of Child Welfare Practitioners Toward Practice and Policy Issues

NCJ Number
Child Welfare Volume: 72 Issue: 1 Dated: (January-February 1993) Pages: 13- 24
R Russel; U Sedlak
Date Published
This study explored the attitudes of public child welfare caseworkers and residential treatment child care staff workers in Nebraska toward practice and policy issues in cases involving juvenile status offenders.
Caseworkers with the Nebraska Department of Social Services and residential program staff members at 21 residential treatment, shelter care, and detention programs were surveyed during the summer and fall of 1990, using a written, short-answer instrument. Responses came from 110 of a possible 200 caseworkers and 138 of a possible 255 residential staff members. Results revealed that these staff members believed that the juvenile justice system did not work effectively with these youths. They reported that status offender behaviors were largely attributable to family dysfunction and that courts needed to be able to mandate parental involvement in the treatment process. The majority also saw a connection between the educational system's inability to meet the needs of learning disabled and behaviorally-disordered children and the subsequent involvement of many of these children in the juvenile justice system as status offenders. However, disagreement existed regarding who should have case management responsibility in these cases. 27 references