5. Break the Cycle of Violence by Addressing Youth Victimization, Abuse, and Neglect
As the most vulnerable members of society, children have the right to be protected from victimization. We as a Nation must act decisively to uphold that right. Although media attention often focuses on youth who commit acts of violence, children are also increasingly becoming victims of violent crime and neglect. (See figure 15.)
This section explains how early experiences of violence not only harm children but also can lead to later violence and delinquency. It describes effective intervention strategies to break that cycle of violence, a strengthened dependency courts system that works more closely with child protective services, and improved delivery of services through unified family courts, administrative reform, written protocols, and the use of court appointed special advocates (CASA's).
This section also examines how parents who have abused or neglected their children can learn to change their behavior and how authorities can determine when children should be removed from their homes because of the threat of abuse or neglect. Finally, it describes ways to intervene with at-risk families before abuse, neglect, or family dysfunction arise or become entrenched.
Figure 15: Violent crime victimization rates
Current Status and Analysis of the Problem
Each year, abuse and neglect leave 18,000 children permanently -- often severely -- disabled and inflict lifelong psychological damage on thousands of victims, siblings, and family members.1 Figure 16 shows that neglect is the most common form of substantiated or indicated maltreatment of children.
Abuse statistics are similarly tragic. Figure 17 illustrates the increase in allegations of child maltreatment from 1980 to 1992. In 1994, public welfare agencies received reports of 3.1 million children being abused or neglected. The increasing trend in child maltreatment reports over the past decade is believed to be the result, at least in part, of a greater willingness to report suspected incidents. Greater public awareness both of child maltreatment as a social problem and the resources available to respond to it are factors that contribute to increased reporting.
Figure 16: Types of child maltreatment
The U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect provides national data on child victimization. (See figure 18.) In 1991, there were an estimated 2.9 million reports of child abuse and neglect involving 1.9 million children.
Each year an estimated 2,000 children -- most under age 4 -- die at the hands of parents or caretakers, about 5 children every day. According to a 1988 Bureau of Justice Statistics study of murder cases, 4 out of 5 children under age 12 who were murdered by a parent or caretaker had been previously abused by the person who killed them.2
An analysis of police data on child victims under the age of 12 (victims not covered in the National Crime Victimization Survey) estimated that as many as 2.2 million violent victimizations -- murder, rape, robbery, and assault -- of children under the age of 18 occurred in 1992. The analysis also revealed that the perpetrators of violent crime against children under the age of 12 were most likely to be acquaintances of the child (54%) and family members (33%) rather than strangers (13%).3
Two years later, statistics showed similar trends. In 1994, a study revealed that children ages 5 and younger who are victims of violent crime are more likely than older juvenile victims to be victimized by a family member. (See figure 19.)
Even when children are not subjected to violence themselves, they increasingly live in a world permeated by violence. Many children are exposed to chronic violence in their homes and communities. A recent study conducted at Boston City Hospital reported that 10 percent of children seen in its primary care clinic have witnessed a shooting or stabbing before age 6. In a survey of inner-city elementary school children in New Orleans, LA, 80 percent reported witnessing acts of violence, and 60 percent had seen a dead person. Similarly, in a study of 6th, 8th, and 10th graders in New Haven, CT, 40 percent reported having witnessed at least one violent crime in the past year.4
Figure 17: Alleged child maltreatment reports
Reports of alleged child maltreatment have increased since 1980
- The increasing trend in child maltreatment reports over the past decade is believed to be the result, at least in part, of a greater willingness to report suspected incidents. Greater public awareness both of child maltreatment as a social problem and the resources available to respond to it are factors that contribute to increased reporting.
Note: Child reports are counts of children who are the subject of reports. Counts are duplicated when an individual child is the subject of more than one report during a year.
Data Sources: NCCAN. 1994. Child Maltreatment 1992: Reports from the States to the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect. NCCAN. 1993. National child abuse neglect data system: Working paper 2, 1991 summary data component.
Source: Snyder, H., and M. Sickmund. 1995 (August). Juvenile Offenders and Victims: A National Report. Washington, D.C.: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice.
The Cycle of Violence
Numerous studies demonstrate the connection between child abuse and neglect and later violent delinquent behavior.5 A National Institute of Justice (NIJ)-funded study found that experiencing childhood abuse and neglect increases the likelihood of arrest as a juvenile by 53 percent, of arrest as an adult by 38 percent, and of committing a violent crime by 38 percent.6 An Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) study found that adolescents from families reporting multiple forms of violence are more than twice as likely as their peers from nonviolent homes to report committing violent offenses.7 Figure 20 shows that physical abuse and neglect can influence subsequent violent crime.
Due to the disproportionate number of neglect cases in comparison to abuse cases, youth who were neglected as children are almost as likely to be arrested for violent crimes as those who were physically abused. Consistent with this finding, of the maltreated children who were arrested for violent acts, 8 out of 10 were neglected as children.
Structural violence -- harm inflicted on individuals by social institutions or the social and physical environment -- also has a major influence on children. Children living in economically deprived areas are more likely to engage in crime than other children and are more susceptible to violent and other criminal behavior.8
Child Protective Services and Dependency Courts
The system of child protective services (CPS) and dependency courts, which addresses family violence and child abuse and neglect, has reached a crisis point. The complexity, seriousness, and ever-increasing volume of maltreatment cases have undercut CPS' ability to process reports of child abuse and neglect; conduct sound investigations; communicate findings to the court; provide protective supervision; arrange appropriate foster care; monitor placements; and develop thoughtful, timely, and suitable permanency planning. As a result, children frequently languish for years in a series of temporary placements, such as foster homes, shelters, group homes, and hospitals. In one out of five cases in which maltreatment was indicated or substantiated in 1992, the child was removed from the home. More than 440,000 children were in some type of substitute care at the end of 1992 -- 60 percent more than 10 years earlier. Recent projections estimated that 550,000 children would be in foster care by the end of 1995.9
Juvenile and family courts must make critical legal decisions and oversee CPS agency efforts when families refuse to cooperate with protective services or when a child must be removed from the home. However, both judicial and agency caseloads have increased dramatically. One expert has found that in many jurisdictions, the demands made on juvenile courts in neglect and abuse cases far exceed the number of judges and courtrooms to conduct the hearings.10 It is no exaggeration to refer to this situation as a crisis in many large urban courts.
Figure 18: Child abuse and neglect pyramid
This crisis arose in part from the increased demands on family courts. In the 1970's, juvenile and family courts were required only to determine whether a child had been abused or neglected and, if so, whether the child should be removed from the home and placed under court or agency supervision. State and Federal legislation, particularly the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act (AACWA) of 1980,11 sharply increased the scope of judicial oversight responsibilities to include ensuring that every abused and neglected child who comes before the court is placed in a safe, permanent, and stable home. The court must remain involved in a case until a child is returned home safely or placed in a new permanent home. Judicial oversight may extend over a period of years until the case is finally closed. Yet most judges can spend an average of only 10 minutes on each of the 35 to 40 cases on their daily calendars. This time constriction underscores the need for additional resources and assistance, such as trained CASA's for abused children, a strategy that is working effectively in many communities.
Figure 19: Juvenile victims of violent crime
Communities need to provide financial resources to improve child protective services and dependency courts, including better management of the system and training for CPS workers, social case workers, judges, and court counselors. A community CASA program is one way to augment the professional staff.
Figure 20: Influence of neglect and abuse on violent acts
Effective and Promising Strategies and Programs
State Court Improvement Program
Since 1980, the responsibilities and caseloads of many juvenile and family courts have sharply increased. These increases are partly due to the judicial oversight functions imposed by AACWA, requiring certain court determinations in foster care and adoption proceedings for children who enter into State care as a result of abuse or neglect. Additionally, the incidence of drug-affected children and families and the reporting of child abuse and neglect have increased steadily in recent years, resulting in higher court caseloads.
The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (Public Law 103-66) established a new grant pro- gram to help State courts focus on their role in proceedings relating to foster care and adoption and improve their handling of those proceedings.12 Forty-eight States, including the District of Columbia, began to implement the program beginning in FY 1995.
The State Court Improvement Program is operated by the Children's Bureau within the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS') Administration on Children, Youth, and Families. This grant program provides State courts with the opportunity to collaborate with other interested parties to review laws and procedures regarding foster care and adoption proceedings, supporting alternatives and improvements. State courts have the flexibility to design assessments that identify barriers, highlight practices that are not fully successful, evaluate areas they find to be in need of improvement or added attention, and implement reforms that address specific needs.
Unified Family Courts
Despite problems facing child welfare services and dependency courts, many successful systemic improvements are underway. There has been increased coordination of information sharing about family cases among juvenile courts. Some courts emphasize nonadversarial dispute resolution in family conflicts and have developed an array of domestic violence, visitation, divorce education, child advocacy, and litigation resources. The most promising development is the emergence of unified family courts that handle the full range of family-related cases, including delinquency, dependency, status offenses, paternity, custody, support, mental health, adoption, family violence, and divorce. Properly administered, unified family courts such as those in Hawaii, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, can effectively address the needs of children in the context of the family.13 A unified family court should have authority equal to the highest trial court of general jurisdiction and be staffed by specialized judges and other professionals.
For unified family courts to be effective, judges must be interested, committed, and qualified. They should receive specialized training and have the authority to develop alternative dispute resolution forums. Judges could further improve the family court system by making more informed and effective decisions regarding children and families through the use of integrated family court management information systems, eliminating the problem of conflicting court orders in children and family cases, and providing the leadership required to develop an integrated service delivery system. They should also ensure that children and families have complete and open access to the protective and restorative powers of the court.
Children's Advocacy Centers
Children's advocacy centers provide a community-based approach whose goal is to improve management of abuse and neglect cases, increase the rate of prosecutions, and ensure that victims and their families receive coordinated treatment services. Over the past 10 years, nearly 300 communities have established children's advocacy centers. Multidisciplinary teams conduct joint interviews and share in decisionmaking concerning the management and investigation of cases, providing a range of services for victims and their families. Some advocacy centers have special teams that focus on preventing child fatalities arising from abuse and neglect, including providing child abuse prevention education.
Children's advocacy centers provide increased substantiation and prosecution of abuse cases, decreased post-abuse trauma to victims through centralized intake procedures, and enhanced support to victims of abuse and their families. Children's advocacy centers provide two additional long-term benefits: they focus community attention on child abuse prevention and raise community awareness of the problems of child abuse. They also provide locally developed infrastructure that facilitates collaboration among key local government agencies. Communities that have developed such infrastructures increase the efficiency of their systems, improve the quality of care in a cost-effective manner, and address a multitude of local juvenile justice and human services issues with increased cooperation.
Court Appointed Special Advocate Programs
The CASA program is another local approach to improving the lives of abused and neglected children. CASA programs use trained volunteers, sometimes known as guardians ad litem, who help stabilize the lives of victimized children. Appointed by the courts and working under court supervision, CASA's serve as advocates for children during court proceedings and help to ensure that a child is quickly placed in a safe, nurturing, and permanent home. They recommend plans that will effectively serve the best interest of the child based on an independent, thoroughly researched investigation of the child's circumstances.
Because CASA's typically handle only one or two cases at a time, they are able to devote significant attention to individual children and obtain a full understanding of each case. They appear at all appropriate court proceedings and monitor court orders, ensuring compliance by all parties. They also bring changes in the child's circumstances to the court's attention. Their work aids overburdened court officials and social workers and enables judges to make more informed decisions.
Nearly 700 communities nationwide have established CASA programs. In 1994, some 37,000 court appointed special advocates represented more than 128,000 abused and neglected children -- about 25 percent of such children who came before the courts.14
One exemplary program is successfully meeting the needs of children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect and who need safe shelter, counseling, and other assistance. In Cincinnati, the Hamilton Juvenile Court, the Cincinnati Bar Association, and the Junior League developed ProKids to serve as court appointed special advocates for youth. When ProKids was created in 1981, only 25 programs in the Nation used community volunteers as child advocates for abused and neglected children. By 1994, ProKids had trained more than 450 child advocate volunteers, and 1,200 children have been served by the program.15
Family Preservation, Family Support, and Independent Living
During the past two decades, the focus on abused children and their families has shifted within the child welfare system. Rather than removing abused children from their homes as the first course of action, efforts are made to preserve families by addressing the problems of abuse and changing behavior within the family. This new approach is based on the following assumptions:
- Children's safety and security is the first priority.
- If their safety can be ensured, children belong with their families.
- Families are the best environment for socialization.
- Being placed in a series of temporary foster homes can seriously impair a child's emotional development.
- Removing a child from an abusive home does not automatically ensure the child's safety.
The shift in emphasis toward family preservation and changing family behavior grew out of research showing that family bonding is essential for healthy cognitive, emotional, and behavioral development, and that families that receive assistance can most often overcome problems. A 1984 study by the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (NCCAN) found that for every 1,000 children placed in out-of-home care, 30 experienced additional abuse. By contrast, among 2,505 children and their families who participated in the Families First family-strengthening program, only one child reported an incident of abuse during the first 12 months of the program.16
Homebuilders of Tacoma, WA, one of the first local family preservation programs, has operated with impressive results since its establishment in 1974. In the first 12 months after entering the program, 88 percent of the children identified by case workers as candidates for out-of-home placement remain in their homes, and both child and family functioning show significant improvement on standardized measures. A similar program begun in 1987 in the Bronx, NY, to test the Homebuilders treatment model in an urban setting also achieved a high level of success.
Family Ties of New York, another program modeled after the Homebuilders approach, is underwritten by New York City with matching State funds. From 1991 to 1992, 80 percent of juveniles who participated in Family Ties remained out of the juvenile justice system during the 6 months after starting with the program. During a period of a year or more, the success rate for program participants was 82 percent. Recidivism rates were significantly lower for the program group than for a comparison group.17
Early Family Strengthening and Support
Research has shown that juvenile delinquency prevention strategies are most effective when they are applied early in life -- as early as prenatally and perinatally.18 Waiting until middle or late adolescence, when violent behavior patterns are well established, makes remediation efforts more difficult. By that time, serious delinquents generally exhibit multiple, interwoven, and recurring problem behaviors and a severe deficit in protective factors.
A review of violence research suggests that predatory and psychopathological violence is most effectively treated by early family-focused comprehensive interventions.19 Reducing multiple risk factors and increasing several protective factors will increase the likelihood that children will develop into productive, competent adults.20 Programs such as Prenatal/Perinatal-Healthy Families, Healthy Babies provide prenatal and perinatal medical care, intensive health education for pregnant women and mothers with young children, and prenatal and infancy home nurse visits. Services such as these have been known to reduce the risks of head injuries, exposure to toxins, maternal substance use, perinatal difficulties, and child abuse -- all delinquency-related risk factors -- and enhance parenting skills.21
The Healthy Start Program in Hawaii seeks to reduce child abuse by offering postnatal counseling to high-risk parents when mothers are still in the hospital. By using 15 effective screening indicators, the program targets parents for early intervention services, which have been accepted by approximately 95 percent of parents. The program continues until the child is 5 years old, providing a connection to a "medical home" that emphasizes preventive healthcare and home visits by trained health service personnel. The program offers parent training, family counseling, enhancement of parent-child interaction, child development activities, and social service linkage. Early evaluation findings provide evidence that the program is successful in reducing the likelihood of child abuse.22
The Elmira Home Visitation Program in New York provides a wide range of maternal and child health services to poor, unmarried teenagers during pregnancy and the first 2 years of their children's lives. The program has demonstrated the following results: 75 percent reduction in State-verified cases of child abuse and neglect, 32 percent fewer emergency room visits during the second year of life, 84 percent increase in unmarried mothers participating in the workforce, and 43 percent fewer subsequent births by unmarried women than by their counterparts assigned to comparable services.23
The Memphis Home Visitation Program showed the following outcomes among participating African-American mothers: 46 percent less alcohol consumption and 26 percent fewer cigarettes used during pregnancy, 24 percent fewer cases of preeclampsia, and 26 percent fewer second pregnancies. In addition, more mothers breast fed their infants, fewer women reported attitudes that are associated with child abuse, such as lack of empathy for children and belief in physical punishment as a means of disciplining infants and toddlers; and fewer were seen by health care professionals for injuries.24
In Tennessee, lawmakers adopted an "earlier is better" crime prevention plan that provides a range of services to at-risk infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. The State legislature also enacted the Childhood Development Act of 1994, expanding family support and preservation services and requiring development of a statewide early childhood education plan.25
Other early prevention strategies targeting children and their families in the first 5 years of life have shown dramatic results.26 For example, during the preschool years, home visitation programs that provide health and parent education and enhance family social support systems have been shown to be effective. Also, preschool programs and structured educational day care have demonstrated success in reducing risk factors and involvement in delinquency.27
Several other States emphasize early intervention approaches, such as Minnesota and Tennessee. In recent years, Minnesota has used funds earmarked for crime prevention to augment Head Start, learning readiness, and family support programs. In addition, the State legislature has established a Senate Crime Prevention Committee.
Other successful prevention strategies include parent training and multisystemic family therapy. Parent training programs teach skills that can improve parenting practices. Multisystemic family therapy includes parent training within a wider range of interventions for improving family cohesiveness. Both programs have been shown to reduce antisocial behavior and delinquency.28
Victimization Prevention Programs
Prevention strategies should also address victimization among teens. An exemplary victim education program is the Teens, Crime, and the Community school-based curriculum that makes youth aware of crime and the high rate of teen victimization through real-life issues. Formal evaluations have documented that the program has resulted in local youth-led victimization prevention measures and changed students' attitudes about crime and victimization.29
Federal Action Steps
Improve Juvenile and Family Court Handling of Child Abuse and Neglect Cases
With support from OJJDP, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) will help replicate in several jurisdictions the successful demonstration juvenile and family court reform project in operation in Hamilton County, OH. NCJFCJ will widely disseminate comprehensive resource guidelines for improving the handling of child abuse and neglect cases, developed on the principles of the demonstration project. The Departments of Justice (DOJ) and HHS will support the implementation of this model in juvenile and family courts across the country.
The National Child Protection Act of 1993, as amended by the 1994 Crime Act, requires the Attorney General and DOJ to develop guidelines for the adoption of appropriate safeguards by care providers and by States for the protection of children, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities from abuse. The Attorney General will consult with Federal, State, and local officials, including those responsible for criminal history record systems, and representatives of public and private care agencies and health, legal, and social welfare organizations. DOJ will use research by the American Bar Association to draft guidelines.
DOJ will make available a set of protocols to assist decisionmakers in law enforcement, public health, drug treatment, and other relevant areas in making reasonable efforts to enable drug-exposed children to remain safely at home.
NIJ will support a scientific study of the effects of hearsay evidence on juror decisionmaking in child abuse cases.
HHS' Children's Bureau operates the State Court Improvement Program, which provides State courts with the opportunity to collaborate with other interested parties to review laws and procedures regarding foster care and adoption proceedings.
Enhance Local Efforts To Investigate and Prosecute Child Abuse and Neglect Cases and Strengthen Child Protective Services
NIJ will fund research to examine the use of parent drug testing to facilitate judicial and social services in the prevention of further maltreatment in child abuse and neglect cases.
NCCAN, established by the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 1974, will assist States and communities in child abuse prevention, identification, investigation, and treatment. NCCAN will support State grant programs, research and demonstration grant projects, clearinghouses, resource centers, and an Interagency Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect.
OJJDP will provide training in investigative techniques to law enforcement, child protective services, and other justice system agencies involved in investigating missing children cases and child abuse, sexual exploitation, and pornography. Courses will include the most advanced concepts in investigative process and will provide information on interagency development, advanced interviewing techniques, team activity involving investigations, case preparation, and prosecution.
OJJDP will continue to provide local children's advocacy centers with funding, training, and technical assistance through the National Network of Children's Advocacy Centers and with training, consultation, resource materials, and other technical assistance through the four regional children's advocacy centers. OJJDP will also seek to increase the number of children represented by court appointed special advocates through continued support of the development and enhancement of local CASA programs.
Strengthen At-Risk Families and Support Healthy Start Programs for Children
HHS will provide nearly $1 billion through the Family Preservation and Family Support Services Program to States and a limited group of tribes for family support services and services to families at risk or in crisis. The program offers States an extraordinary opportunity to make sweeping changes in their child welfare systems to assist children at risk for abuse and neglect.
Under Title XX of HHS' Social Security Act (enacted in 1974), the Federal Government provides grants to States for social services aimed at preventing or remedying abuse and neglect while preserving families and preventing inappropriate institutional care. Grants are also set aside for evaluation, research, and training and technical assistance.
HHS' Children's Bureau began to provide grants to State courts in 1995 to improve foster care and adoption proceedings. Without the services these programs provide, most children who are at risk for serious child abuse, family conflict, and mental health problems would be immediately removed from the home.
HHS will provide Maternal and Child Health Improvement Grants to improve the delivery of health care services to mothers and children, particularly those families in low-income and isolated areas. The Department will also continue to support Healthy Start sites to increase awareness of infant mortality and overcome barriers to delivery of child and maternal health care; streamline and coordinate services between public and private agencies; and build partnerships among families, volunteers, companies, and health care and social service providers.
In FY 1995, HHS began to award grants to implement Early Head Start programs that provide intensive and comprehensive child development and family support services to low-income families with children under age 3 and to pregnant women. In addition, HHS will continue to support the Head Start program to provide comprehensive health, educational, nutritional, social, and other services to bridge the gap between economically disadvantaged children and their peers.
NIJ will provide technical assistance and training to the nationwide Girl Scouts Beyond Bars program. The primary goals of this program are to prevent juvenile delinquency in these at-risk children, improve the parenting skills of incarcerated mothers, and reduce the probability of recidivism.
OJJDP will establish a national family-strengthening training and technical assistance effort. One or more agencies will be funded to provide a range of technical support to help communities establish or strengthen family support programs.
Support Community-Based Services That Reduce Family Violence and Victimization
HHS will continue to fund the Family Violence Prevention and Services Program to assist States and Native-American tribes in the prevention of family violence and the provision of immediate shelter and related assistance for victims of family violence and their dependents. The program also funds discretionary grants to support research into the causes and prevention of family violence, to support the training of family violence personnel and provide technical assistance in the conduct of family violence programs, and to support the operation of a national resource center on family violence.
These funds are also used to provide grant awards to nonprofit private sector organizations in each State to form State Domestic Violence Coalitions that are dedicated to the prevention of family violence in general and spouse abuse in particular. The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 requires State coalitions to work with local domestic violence programs and providers of direct services through training, planning, disseminating information, and collaborating with other governmental systems that help battered women.
The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) will fund three Violence Against Women demonstration sites to identify mechanisms and procedures to help jurisdictions coordinate criminal justice agencies, victims services, social services, medical services, and others, as appropriate, to ensure that issues and problems about violence are handled effectively. These pilot programs provide BJA with a basis for determining a prototype to enhance and coordinate jurisdictionwide responses to issues concerning violence against women.
The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) will provide funds to help DOJ implement the recently enacted Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). OVC funding will be allocated for the development of model policies and procedures on implementation and enforcement of the Full Faith and Credit provisions, and to train State and local criminal justice components and advocates.
NIJ will sponsor research on youth victims of domestic abuse in an attempt to provide a better understanding of their needs and how they can be more effectively addressed. NIJ will also support research to clarify understanding of the prevalence of partner violence among young adults.
Provide Training and Technical Assistance To Strengthen Agencies Serving Children and Their Families
HHS will continue to fund national child welfare resource centers focusing on critical topics such as family-centered practice, permanency planning, organizational improvement, youth development, and legal and court issues. These centers provide training and technical assistance to build the capacity of State, local, tribal, and other publicly administered or publicly supported child welfare agencies in the development, expansion, strengthening, and improvement of the quality and effectiveness of services to children and their families.
HHS will continue to provide discretionary child welfare training grants and promote the use of Social Security Act Title IV-E training funds to enhance child welfare practice in ways that make positive differences for children and their families.
HHS will also continue to fund and work with States to strengthen the design and delivery of Independent Living Initiatives to assist children who have reached the age of 16 in making the transition from foster care to independent living. The National Resource Center for Youth Development, funded by HHS, is responsible for identifying and disseminating information to the field on innovative, successful transitional and independent living programs dealing with issues such as effective parenting and adolescent input into program design.
Improve Services to Children Who Are Victims of Abuse and Other Crimes
OJJDP will work with OVC to improve services to children through expansion of resources for multidisciplinary teams and extension of the teamwork concept used by children's advocacy centers to a wide range of crimes, including family violence. OJJDP will also work with OVC to improve services to children who are victims of crimes under Federal law, including those living on Native-American lands.
OJJDP will support an initiative to provide more conflict resolution programming for young people to equip them with the skills necessary to resolve conflict nonviolently. A training and technical assistance provider will assist interested communities in selecting an appropriate conflict resolution model and in implementing it in schools, youth facilities, recreation centers, and other institutions serving youth.
Suggestions for State and Local Action
- Foster substance abuse treatment approaches designed for parents, including residential treatment programs that allow children to accompany their addicted parents.
- Provide financial and other resources to enable parents to take part in treatment.
- Eliminate punitive policies such as those that require parents to give up parental rights in order to be eligible for treatment.
- Develop a network of State and local victim assistance strategies that serve children and their families.
- Establish victim awareness activities in juvenile corrections facilities to help young offenders understand the impact of their crimes on others, the roots of their own violent behavior, and ways to become nonabusive spouses and parents.
- Support comprehensive adolescent pregnancy prevention programs.
- Support victim education for teens through community- or school-based programs.
- Advocate for manageable caseloads and properly trained child protective workers.
- Reform juvenile and family court administration to better address needs of victimized children and improve dependency case management.
- Encourage formation of local CASA and other children's advocacy programs.
- Launch local Healthy Start programs.
- Involve young men in parenting programs, especially those placed in juvenile justice facilities and those incarcerated in correctional facilities.
- Establish and maintain an effective and inclusive planning effort focused on family preservation and family support services.
- Provide mental health and treatment services and parenting skills training for confined abusers and/or young offenders who are victims of abuse.
1. A Nation's Shame: Fatal Child Abuse and Neglect in the United States: A Report of the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect. 1995. Washington, D.C.: Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
2. Dawson, J., and P. Langan. 1994. Murder in Families. Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report. Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice.
3. Snyder, H., and M. Sickmund. 1995 (August). Juvenile Offenders and Victims: A National Report. Washington, D.C.: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice.
4. Thornberry, T.P. 1994 (December). Violent Families and Youth Violence. Fact Sheet #21. Washington, D.C.: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice.
Wright, K.N., and K.E. Wright. 1994 (May). Family Life, Delinquency, and Crime: A Policymaker's Guide. Research Summary. Washington, D.C.: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice.
6. Widom, C.S. 1992 (October). The Cycle of Violence. Research in Brief. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice.
7. Thornberry, 1994.
8. Eron, L.D., J. Gentry, and P. Schlegel, eds. 1994. Reason to Hope: A Psychosocial Perspective on Violence and Youth. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.
9. National Commission on Children. 1991. Beyond Rhetoric: A New American Agenda for Children and Families. Final Report. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.
10. Hardin, M. 1992. Judicial Implementation of Permanency Planning Reform: One Court That Works. Washington, D.C.: American Bar Association.
11. Public Law 96-272, The Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980.
12. Public Law 103-66, The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993.
13. National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. 1991. Recommendations for a Model Family Court: A Report from the National Family Court Symposium. Reno, Nev.
Rubin, H.T., and V.E. Flango. 1992. Court Coordination of Family Cases. Williamsburg, Va.: National Center for State Courts.
14. CASA: Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children . . . A Child's Voice in Court. 1988. Juvenile Justice Bulletin. Washington, D.C.: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice.
15. ProKids: Speaking Up for Abused and Neglected Children in Hamilton, Ohio (brochure). 1994. Cincinnati, Ohio: ProKids.
16. Bergquist, C., G. Pope, and K. Corliss. 1995. Evaluation of Michigan's Families First Program, Summary Report. Lansing, Mich.: Michigan Department of Social Services.
17. Collier, W.V., and R.H. Hill. 1993 (June). Family Ties Intensive Family Preservation Services Program: An Evaluation Report. City of New York, N.Y.: Department of Juvenile Justice.
18. Thornberry, T.P., D. Huizinga, and R. Loeber. 1995. The prevention of serious delinquency and violence: Implications from the program of research on the causes and correlates of delinquency. In J.C. Howell et al., eds., Sourcebook on Serious, Violent, and Chronic Juvenile Offenders. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.
19. Tolan, P., and N. Guerra. 1994 (July). What Works in Reducing Adolescent Violence: An Empirical Review of the Field. Boulder, Colo.: The Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, University of Colorado.
20. Howell, J.C., ed. 1995 (May). Guide for Implementing the Comprehensive Strategy for Serious, Violent, and Chronic Juvenile Offenders. Washington, D.C.: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice.
Wilson, J.J., and J.C. Howell. 1993. Comprehensive Strategy for Serious, Violent, and Chronic Juvenile Offenders. Washington, D.C.: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice.
21. Olds, D.L., et al. Forthcoming. The potential for reducing antisocial behavior with a program of prenatal and early childhood home visitation. Denver, Colo.: Prevention Research Center for Family and Child Health and Home Visitation.
22. Delinquency Prevention Works. 1995 (May). Washington, D.C.: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice.
24. Olds, D.L., et al. 1993. Effect of prenatal and infancy nurse home visitation on government spending. Medical Care 31(2):155-174.
25. Rubin and Flango, 1992.
26. Mendel, R.A. 1995. Prevention or Pork? A Hard-Headed Look at Youth-Oriented Anti-Crime Programs. Washington, D.C.: American Youth Policy Forum.
27. Delinquency Prevention Works.
29. Hwalick, M. 1992 (August). 1992 Evaluation of Teens, Crime, and the Community. Bingham Farms, Mich.: Social Program Evaluators and Consultants, Inc.
Contents | Foreword | Acknowledgments | Introduction | Summary
Figures | Objectives | Conclusion | Appendixes