September 10, 2014
The Florida Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the University of Florida recently conducted a study that showed starkly higher rates of Adverse Childhood Experiences in Juvenile Justice offenders than in the general population.
While the ACE Study (the “Adverse Childhood Experiences Study”) out of Kaiser Permanente and the Centers for Disease Control previously made showings proportionately connecting adverse childhood experiences with adverse adult experiences using large samples, the recent Florida study was the first in the United States to focus specifically on juvenile offenders. Out of over 64,000 juvenile offenders surveyed, only 2.8 percent reported no childhood adversity. This very strong finding does not even account for the potential for underreporting, which is common, and acknowledged by the study’s authors.
The Florida study appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of the Journal of Juvenile Justice and looked at 10 types of childhood adversity, including emotional, physical, and sexual abuse; emotional and physical neglect; household substance abuse; witnessing a mother being abused; household mental illness; losing a parent to separation or divorce; and having an incarcerated family member.
Dr. Michael Baglivio, co-author of the study, said importantly as follows: “This shows that youth in the juvenile justice system were indeed victims of child abuse, neglect, and dysfunctional homes, prior to, or at least current with, being ‘offenders'”.
The study’s authors recommend, among other things, that our juvenile justice systems, child welfare systems, and governments in general become more “trauma informed”.
Please take a look at the study’s findings described at the following link: The Prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences in the Lives of Juvenile Offenders