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Patterns of Justice System Involvement Among Child-Welfare Involved Youth

Kolivoski, Karen (2012) Patterns of Justice System Involvement Among Child-Welfare Involved Youth. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Using empirical data to examine the nature and extent of justice system involvement among groups of young people with placement experiences in the child welfare system can help streamline policies to better target those most at-risk for juvenile detention and jail. However,research has yet to fully address the unique groups within this population utilizing juvenile and criminal justice system measures. Thus, I use trajectory analysis to examine differences in justice system involvement and child welfare placements as related to demographics, child welfare experiences, and other systems involvement.
Data come from a larger study on child welfare children and youth in a birth cohort in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania; the sample for this study focused on one child per family with at least one year in out of home child welfare placement (N = 794). I performed semiparametric
group-based polynomial logistic regression trajectory analysis to determine distinct trajectory groups within the larger sample on juvenile and criminal justice system measures, as well as for three main child welfare placement types. I conducted multinomial logistic regression to examine predictors that differentiated justice system group membership. I performed crosstabulations of the trajectory groups to show detail of the relationship between justice system trajectories and placement trajectories.
Results indicated that a five-group model fit the best conceptually and statistically for justice systems, foster homes, and group homes, and a four-group model fit best for regular residential placements. Child welfare youth have high percentages of involvement in multiple systems, and heterogeneity of justice system involvement exists among child welfare youth. Although most have no to low justice system involvement, others have substantial involvement
grouped on similar experiences. Congregate care placement was only a significant predictor for the chronic justice system group.
This research has important findings that can guide our interventions for youth, particularly in the areas of screening and assessment. A quantitative screening tool could be an efficient way of identifying young people most at risk for justice system involvement, while a qualitative assessment could include in-depth questions acknowledging that child welfare and other system experiences matter for justice system involvement.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Kolivoski, Karenkmk70@pitt.eduKMK70
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairShook, Jeffjes98@pitt.eduJES98
Committee MemberGoodkind, Sarasag51@pitt.eduSAG51
Committee MemberKim, Kevinkhkim@pitt.eduKHKIM
Committee MemberMann, Aaronamssw@pitt.eduAMSSW
Date: 25 June 2012
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 7 June 2012
Approval Date: 25 June 2012
Submission Date: 25 June 2012
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 216
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Social Work > Social Work
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: child welfare, juvenile justice, group-based trajectory analysis, justice system
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2012 20:42
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:59


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