Abstract: WITHDRAWN: The Risk of Arrest Among Young People Placed in Congregate Care (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

WITHDRAWN: The Risk of Arrest Among Young People Placed in Congregate Care

Sunday, January 16, 2022
Marquis BR Salon 12, ML 2 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
* noted as presenting author
John Prindle, PhD, Research Faculty, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Andrea Eastman, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Jacquelyn McCroskey, DSW, Professor, University of Southern California, CA
Emily Putnam-Hornstein, PhD, John A. Tate Distinguished Professor for Children in Need, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Introduction. Adolescents who have been placed by Child Protective Services (CPS) in congregate care placements are at increased risk of a range of deleterious outcomes compared to adolescents living in other out-of-home CPS placements (i.e. kinship or foster care). Adolescents placed in congregate care versus other placements have increased risk of juvenile justice involvement. Little research has focused on the risk of juvenile justice involvement related to the timing of out-of-home placement in congregate care. The current study seeks to unpack the relationship between placement type and juvenile justice involvement among a population of adolescents who have been in congregate care.

Methods. Statewide CPS records from California’s Child Welfare Services Case Management System (CWS/CMS) were used to identify all adolescents between ages 13 and 18 who had spent at least one week in congregate care in years 2014 and 2015 (n=5,397). These were linked to records from the California Department of Justice’s Automated Criminal History System (ACHS), which documented all individuals arrested and booked in California between years 2014 and 2015. After cleaning and coding both ACHS and CWS/CMS data, records were probabilistically matched at the person-level using a combination of unique (i.e., Social Security Number) and non-unique (i.e., first name, middle name, last name, date of birth) identifiers common to both systems. Permissions to access records fell under data-use and research agreements between the University of Southern California, the California Departments of Social Services and Justice.

Analysis. Differences in demographics and types of placements were examined for adolescents who were arrested and those who were not arrested using χ2 tests. We then fit survival models. Estimates are reported as hazard ratios (HRs) with corresponding 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). The proportional hazard assumption was evaluated based on Schoenfeld residuals. All analyses were conducted using the Stata statistical package version 17.

Results. More than half (58.3%) of adolescents had experienced a single placement type, congregate care, while 12.8% of adolescents who had experienced a congregate care placement had also placed in a kin/relative home and 16.0% had experienced foster care placement. Overall, 6.9% of adolescents experiencing congregate care placement were arrested during the window of observation. A higher risk was estimated for those still in congregate care compared to adolescents who exited care to reunification or permanent placement (HR: 2.53, 95% CI: p<.001). Risk of arrest was greatest for adolescents leaving care without permission (HR: 4.76, 95% CI: 2.64, 1.26, p<.001) compared to adolescents exiting care to reunification or permanent placement.

Conclusions and Implications. While congregate care placements may be necessary to meet the needs of individual adolescents for a limited time, longer term use can also be associated with increased likelihood of arrest. Reducing the risk of arrests for adolescents in congregate care is a critically important goal for policy and practice. Identifying ways to rethink guidelines pertaining to leaving care without permission from CPS congregate care placements may reduce the risk of arrest among adolescents.