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Functional Impairment in Delinquent Youth

Accession Number: 027742
Media Type: 
Document

“Research suggests that incarcerated youth have difficulty functioning in society as they age. This study reveals that 3 years after detention, most youth struggle in one or more life domains, and one in five youth is severely impaired [they face extreme difficulties in dealing with social, psychiatric, and academic issues from day-to-day] … Juvenile justice organizations, community groups, law enforcement, and corrections agencies must invest in targeted, comprehensive strategies to give these youth a chance to experience productive and healthy lives” (p. 3). The Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale (CAFAS) was used to rate individuals on eight domains of function—school/work, home, community, behavior towards others, moods/emotions, self-harm, substance use, and rational thinking. The authors examined impairment overall, impairment within domains, differences by age, gender, and race/ethnicity, and functional impairment in males and their incarceration status. Recommendations suggested for public policy initiatives are: connect more youth with community services after detention; target services to those youth with the greatest need; and make sure long-term interventions are provided.

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