Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




Leschied, Alan DW.


Recent research suggests that youth (12-16) who have experienced the Child Welfare System (CWS) are more likely to be involved in early criminal and delinquent behaviour. These youth who are involved in this system of care are more likely than youth in the general population to “crossover” into another system of care - The Youth Justice System (YJS). While the CWS does not cause youth to crossover to the YJS, precipitating experiences such as maltreatment histories, mental health concerns, and psychosocial issues are possible factors that may exacerbate problems experienced in the CWS. The current study focused on these precipitating events and their relation to the context in which youth crossover from the CWS into the YJS. Two hundred and ninety-nine archival young offender files of Canadian youth were sampled from an urban-based court clinic between the years 2010 and 2016 for the current study. Descriptive analyses revealed that nearly 90 percent of crossover youth had a history of maltreatment and approximately 60 percent were poly-victims – having experienced two or more different types of maltreatment. Variables related to levels of maladaptation such as, youth who began offending earlier and those who utilized more CWS-related community supports were more likely to classified as crossover youth. The relevance of the current findings are discussed as they relate to policy, practice, and intervention with these justice involved youth.

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