Linking Child Welfare With Juvenile Justice

Janet K. Wiig, University of Minnesota

Fourteen states have established 6 to 10 years old as the minimum age for delinquency. Many legal issues arise when the courts have jurisdiction over children this young. There are both current and proposed alternatives. Programs designed specifically for child delinquents are a promising approach. In these programs, children are referred by police based on current delinquent behavior, but the interventions target children based on risk of delinquency in the future. One question is whether the early delinquency of children along with the presence of risk factors for future delinquency should dictate new standards for child protection intervention. Child delinquents often come from families who have had multiple contacts with the child protection system. Yet, the child protection system is not designed to take actions that will help prevent future delinquency. This presentation will discuss the opportunity in the child protection system to shift some of its focus from short-term protection of children to long-term outcomes, particularly for children who exhibit multiple risk factors for serious and violent delinquency in the future.

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Updated 05/20/2006