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Title:Out of home placement location and juvenile delinquency: the investigation of neighborhood impact on child welfare population's juvenile justice involvement
Author(s):Huang, Hui
Director of Research:Ryan, Joseph P.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Ryan, Joseph P.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Fuller, Tamara; Zhan, Min; Anderson, Steven G.
Department / Program:School of Social Work
Discipline:Social Work
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):location
neighborhood
out of home placement
child welfare
juvenile justice
Abstract:The evidence to date is clear. Victims of child abuse and neglect are at an increased risk of juvenile delinquency. Yet little is known about the mechanisms responsible for this increased risk. This dissertation aims to advance the knowledge base by investigating whether the neighborhoods associated with foster care placement affect the risk of delinquent offending for adolescents in the child welfare system. This study tests the hypothesis whether the association between neighborhood sociodemographic factors and delinquency is mediated by neighborhood social processes. The hypothesis is based on social disorganization theory and social norm theory. The sample was selected from the official child abuse and neglect records associated with the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (IDCFS). All children were born in 1983 and 1984, were associated with at least one substantiated allegation of maltreatment, and were placed within the City of Chicago. The final sample was comprised of 2,360 children. Nearly ninety (89.58%) of the sample were African American, 3.22% were White, and 7.20% were Hispanic. Slightly less than half (47.92%) of the sample were male. The average age at the time of initial indicated maltreatment was 6.45 years old. The design is longitudinal and involves the analysis of a unique data sharing agreement in a large metropolitan county. The study followed the placement experiences and delinquency petitions associated with the sample from birth through age 16. The study used data from IDCFS administrative data, Cook County juvenile court administrative data, the 1990 census, and the community survey of the Project of Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN). I started from visualizing spatial distribution of foster care placements in ArcGIS. I used exploratory spatial data analysis in GeoDa to measure spatial clustering of foster care placements. I compared the spatial clustering of foster care placements and the spatial clustering of neighborhood sociodemographics. The results indicated that there are similarities between the spatial clustering of foster care placements and several neighborhood sociodemographics (e.g. percentage of below the poverty line). I used path analysis to test the hypothesis that the neighborhoods associated with foster care placement affect the risk of delinquent offending for adolescents in the child welfare system, and the association between neighborhood sociodemographic factors (concentrated disadvantage, ethnic heterogeneity, residential stability) and delinquency is mediated by social disorganization (collective efficacy, neighborhood disorder) and social norms (violent culture). I also used a multiple subsamples approach to test the moderation effect of length in care. The findings partly supported my hypotheses. The results indicated that neighborhood sociodemographic factors have direct impacts on violent offenses. The results also indicated that neighborhood sociodemographic factors have indirect effects on drug offenses mediated by neighborhood disorder. In addition, neighborhood sociodemographic factors have indirect effects on property offenses mediated by collective efficacy for the subsample of over five years in care. More neighborhood variables were statistically significant for the subsample with longer time in care. I provided research and practice implications based on these findings. Regarding research implications, I suggested that future study could study the effects of the surrounding neighborhoods on delinquency, should examine the moderation effects of kinship care, should include more diverse neighborhoods, and should consider using more advanced models to control selection bias. Regarding practice implications, I first suggested that caseworker should choose to place foster children in less disadvantaged neighborhoods, when they choose from foster care placements that are similar in all aspects except for neighborhood conditions. Meanwhile, caseworkers need to help foster youths with assimilation into new neighborhoods. Second, I identified strategies to change collective efficacy and neighborhood disorder. I suggested using community justice to increase collective efficacy and using community policing to reduce neighborhood disorder. Third, I noted that neighborhood programs should remain in operation for a long time, the funding of which may be supported by community development.
Issue Date:2014-01-16
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/46943
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Hui Huang
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-01-16
2016-01-16
Date Deposited:2013-12


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