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Child Welfare Involvement Linked to Increased Severity of Punishment for Youth, Study Finds – The Chronicle of Social Change

A May 2016 study, “Juvenile justice sentencing: Do gender and child welfare involvement matter?”, found that, when committing the same crime, girls and children who had been in the child welfare system were 56 percent more likely to be sentenced to a juvenile group home than boys or those who had not had contact with the welfare system. Researchers suggest that the cause for this discrepancy may be that judges think females are at a greater need for protection and that pulling them out of troubled home lives will help. Researchers also believe that judges think that children who have had contact with child services are usually from poor communities, thus making them at a greater risk for crime; subsequently, judges may believe that removing these children from their home will prevent crime. Juveniles that are forced into a group home setting have less access to education and vocational training, are more likely to recidiviate, and suffer many additional negative consequences that can last a lifetime. Read the article or download the study.