Testimony to the House Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee
Abuse & Neglect Puts Youth at Risk of both CPS and Juvenile Justice Involvement
The youth involved with Child Protective Services and the youth in the juvenile justice system have often been through similar childhood experiences that require the same support and services to help them overcome their past trauma and keep them on a path to success. In many cases, they are the same exact kids.
Not all youth who are abused or neglected will go on to be delinquent, however research has shown that abuse and neglect increase the likelihood of youth being arrested as a juvenile by 59 percent. The same study also found that youth who have experienced abuse or neglect begin their delinquent activity and get arrested at a younger age and commit more offenses than youth who have not experienced abused or neglect.
Children in foster care are more likely to experience behavioral health challenges than their peers. Although these behaviors are often related to trauma experienced before entering and during foster care, these behaviors can lead to delinquency outcomes that undermine a child’s stability in the foster care system. Research shows that once youth with child welfare involvement engage in delinquency, they are more likely to become deeply involved with the juvenile justice system.