Why do adolescents become involved with the child welfare system? Exploring risk factors that affect young adolescents


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

An exploratory study that investigated the circumstances of adolescents’ involvement with the child welfare system was conducted. Using data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being, a cluster analysis was performed on 831 youths, aged 11–16 years old, who were reported to child welfare authorities for abuse and/or neglect. The aims of the study were to identify how precipitating risk factors affecting caregivers and youth clustered together, and then to explore what demographic and maltreatment-related factors distinguished these clusters. The results show that three clusters exist, each characterized by distinct sets of either parental or youth risk factors, or an absence of these risk elements all together. In addition, each cluster was also characterized by distinct types of maltreatment. Reports of neglect corresponded to the cluster that evidenced high rates of caregiver risk factors, while rates of physical abuse accompanied the cluster that displayed high rates of youth behavior problems. The issues surrounding developing or enhancing specific intervention strategies for young adolescents at jeopardy for involvement with child welfare are discussed

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