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System Backgrounds, Psychosocial Characteristics, and Service Access Among Dually Involved Youth: A Los Angeles Case Study

NCJ Number
Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice Volume: 17 Issue: 3 Dated: 2019 Pages: 309-329
Carly B. Dierkhising; Denise Herz; Rebecca A. Hirsch; Sam Abbott
Date Published
21 pages
This study examined the juvenile justice and child welfare histories, psychosocial characteristics, and predictors of rearrests among the dually involved population (youth involved in both the child welfare system and the juvenile justice system) of Los Angeles County (N - 718), as well as the services to which youth are referred and utilize among a subsample of dually involved youth tracked after juvenile justice disposition (n -152).
Findings show an increased representation of females and an overrepresentation of African-Americans among the sample. African-American youth in Los Angeles County were disproportionately dually involved at a rate almost six times their general population numbers (7.4 percent vs. 43 percent). Youth histories show significant involvement in both systems, with 33 percent of the sample having been arrested prior to the current referral, and youth having an average of 10.8 referrals to child welfare in their past. Youth exhibited high levels of behavioral health issues, which were associated with rearrest. Youth were referred to a broad range of services; however, not all of them were accessed. Placement changes and contact with probation officers were identified as both challenges to and facilitators of service access in unique ways. (Publisher abstract modified)