Young people involved in child protection and youth justice systems
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Young people who have a history of maltreatment and involvement in the child protection system are over-represented in the youth justice system.
Between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2016, 39.2% of all young people under youth justice supervision in Australia – excluding New South Wales and the Northern Territory – were also involved in the child protection system. This means that young people aged 10–16 years in the child protection system were 12 times more likely to be in the youth justice system than the general population of the same age.
In a recently released CFCA resource sheet, we summarise the intersection between the child protection system and youth justice supervision in Australia, with a focus on those groups who are over-represented in the youth justice system.
To explore this issue further, we’ve also brought together a series of short articles from researchers that focus on the links between child maltreatment, child protection and youth offending.
Investigating the complex links between maltreatment and youth offending
In this article, Dr Catia Malvaso explores what’s known about the complex relationship between child maltreatment and youth offending. Drawing on longitudinal data, she discusses how the type, timing and recurrence of maltreatment influences the development of offending behaviour, alongside other mediating factors, such as behavioural issues and social circumstances.
The transition from out-of-home care and offending behaviours
Dr Susan Baidawi focuses on the needs of young people leaving out-of-home care, who are at greater risk of offending and coming into contact with the youth justice system. This article highlights some of the known risk factors for offending among young care leavers, including the co-location of vulnerable peers in residential care and greater exposure to police and contact with the criminal justice system. Dr Baidawi considers what can be done to reduce the risk of offending and youth justice system involvement.
Child maltreatment, homelessness and youth offending
Professor Anna Stewart and Dr Emily Hurren investigate the role that homelessness can play as a mediating factor in the link between child maltreatment and youth offending. They describe how maltreatment can be the impetus for young people from disadvantaged or dysfunctional families to leave home, which exposes them to further risks of victimisation, offending and contact with the criminal justice system.
Improving data collection to better support children in out-of-home care at risk of offending
Dr Kath McFarlane focuses on the need for better data collection to inform how to best support children and young people in out-of-home care at risk of offending. This article argues that without a clear understanding of the background, experiences and outcomes for children in out-of-home care, it’s difficult to know how to best respond to their needs. Dr McFarlane suggests some strategies to improve data collection that could help inform how to better support and protect children in care.
Further reading and resources
- The intersection between the child protection and youth justice systems
This CFCA resource sheet summarises data that link the child protection system and youth justice supervision in Australia, with a focus on those groups who are over-represented in the youth justice system.
- Young people in child protection and under youth justice supervision 2015–16
This report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare presents information on people aged 10–16 who were in the child protection system and under youth justice supervision from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2016.
- Supporting young people leaving out-of-home care
This CFCA paper examines international and Australian literature to identify the key areas of support that may help young people to successfully transition from care.
- Children in care
This CFCA resource sheet provides a snapshot of the data on Australian children and young people who were in out-of-home care during 2015–16 and identifies current issues in providing a safe and stable care arrangement.
- Child abuse and neglect statistics
This CFCA resource sheet presents a snapshot of the data describing child protection activity in Australia during 2015–16.
- Enhancing the implementation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle: Policy and practice considerations
This CFCA paper explores the contemporary understanding of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle, and reviews the multiple and complex barriers at the policy and practice levels that are impeding its implementation.
CFCA hosts bibliographies on a range of subjects, which are located on particular topic pages. Bibliographies related to child maltreatment, child protection and youth justice include:
- Adolescent survivors of child abuse and neglect
- Child abuse and adult offending
- Child protection and juvenile justice
- Domestic violence and child abuse and neglect
- Early childhood interventions in disadvantaged communities
- Poverty and child abuse and neglect
- Risk factors for child maltreatment
1 Linked data between the child protection and youth justice systems are currently available for all jurisdictions except New South Wales and the Northern Territory and are restricted to people who were aged 10–16 years at 1 July 2014.