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Treatment, Services, and Intervention Programs for Child Delinquents

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2003
16 pages
Publication Series
This bulletin draws on findings from OJJDP's (U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention) Study Group on Very Young Offenders to assess treatment, services, and intervention programs designed for juvenile offenders under the age of 13.
The Study Group, composed of 39 experts on child delinquency and child psychopathology, has concluded that juveniles who commit serious and violent offenses most often have shown persistent disruptive behavior in early childhood and committed minor delinquent acts when very young. Focusing on children with conduct disorder or who exhibit conduct disorder symptoms helps researchers target both children who commit delinquent acts but have not been detected, as well as children at risk of committing such acts. In describing and assessing juvenile justice system programs and strategies for very young offenders, this bulletin focuses on four promising programs: the Michigan Early Offender Program, the Minnesota Delinquents Under 10 Program, the Sacramento County Community Intervention Program, and the Toronto Under 12 Outreach Project. In addition, the bulletin proposes a model for comprehensive interventions and examines the Canadian approach to child delinquency, which may serve as a guide for prevention efforts in the United States and Europe. The Study Group found that the most effective intervention and service programs for very young children at risk provide a treatment-oriented, nonpunitive framework that emphasizes early identification and intervention. The Study Group's survey of juvenile justice practitioners found that they were unanimous about the need for integration among agencies. The pioneering programs described in this bulletin provide models of consistent coordination among agencies concerned with children. 75 references

Date Published: March 1, 2003