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Risk and Protective Factors of Child Delinquency

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2003
16 pages
Publication Series
This bulletin presents identified risk and protective factors of child delinquency that are crucial to developing effective early intervention and protection programs for very young offenders and key in preventing child delinquency.
Essential to the development of interventions in the prevention of child delinquency and reduction of chronic criminality is the identification of risk and protective factors. As the number of risk factors and risk factor domains increase so does the likelihood of early juvenile offending. In addition to risk factors, an examination of protective factors that reduce the risk of delinquency is as crucial. This bulletin is based on four chapters from the Study Group on Very Young Offenders, consisting of 39 experts on child delinquency and child psychopathology, 2001 final report, Child Delinquents: Development, Intervention, and Service Needs. The chapters in the report and addressed in this bulletin include: Individual Risk and Protective Factors; Family Risk and Protective Factors; Peer Factors and Interventions; and School and Community Risk Factors and Interventions. Individual risk factors identified and reviewed include: antisocial behavior, emotional factors, cognitive development, and hyperactivity. Family risk factors identified and reviewed include: parenting, maltreatment, family violence, divorce, parental psychopathology, familial antisocial behaviors, teenage parenthood, family structure, and family size. Peer risk factors identified and reviewed include: association with deviant peers and peer rejection. School and community risk factors identified and reviewed were inclusive of themselves. Interventions are discussed in the arenas of individual, family, peers, school, and community. The Study Group stresses that the focus on risk factors is the key to preventing child delinquency. To prevent child delinquency and its escalation in serious juvenile and adult offending, intervention methods must account for the wide range of individual, family, peer, school, and community risk factors. References

Date Published: April 1, 2003