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An Ecological Model of Risk and Protection for Delinquency and Juvenile Justice Involvement among Maltreated Youth: A Longitudinal Study

The aim of this study is to develop an ecological model of risk and protection for delinquency and juvenile justice involvement.

Exposure to childhood adversity is a significant risk factor for juvenile justice involvement. Not only do maltreated children experience abuse and neglect, but they are also more likely to experience other adversities, including community violence and caregiver and school transitions.

In this study, we are using an ecologically-grounded model to examine:

  1. how Fostering Healthy Futures (FHF) - a mentoring and skills group intervention delivered during the pre-adolescent years - can help reduce youth delinquent behavior and involvement in the juvenile justice system
  2. whether changes in psychosocial functioning operate as mediators of this intervention effect
  3. whether there are gender and ethnic/racial differences in program efficacy and its mechanisms

The research will have important implications for designing culturally-relevant prevention and intervention programming during targeted developmental periods for youth exposed to extreme adversity.