U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Partners or Adversaries? The Relation Between Juvenile Diversion Supervision and Parenting Practices

NCJ Number
Law and Human Behavior Volume: 44 Issue: 6 Dated: 2020 Pages: 461-473
Date Published
13 pages

This study examined 1) whether juvenile probation officers’ (JPOs’) perceptions of a probationer’s home environment were associated with the conditions they placed on youth; 2) whether JPOs’ perceptions of the home aligned with the youths’ perceptions; and 3) whether JPOs’ control-oriented conditions were associated with changes in parenting practices.


Based on guiding principles such as parens patriae, juvenile probation officers (JPOs) not only supervise youth, but in certain jurisdictions they also decide how control-oriented their conditions will be. JPOs’ perceptions of parenting could be related to their decision-making. The study sample consisted of 265 male youth (mean age = 15.41; 76.6  percent Latino, 19.25 percent White, 0.75 percent Black) who were arrested for the first time and placed on supervised diversion.  Latent class analyses indicated that there were three supervision conditions classes: standard, moderate, and high control. JPOs’ perceptions of the home did not align with youths’ perceptions of parenting practices (e.g., rule setting, curfew setting, and monitoring) yet they were the strongest predictor of receiving the most control-oriented conditions. Surprisingly, parental rule setting, curfew setting, and monitoring declined once youth were placed under supervision, and declines did not differ based on how control-oriented their official conditions were. Although parents are thought to be vital in justice-involved youths’ success, within this sample, officers’ perceptions of the family did not align with youths’ perceptions. Further, parental supervision declined equally regardless of how control-oriented youths’ supervision conditions were. The study advises that parents must be better integrated into the supervision process to improve the success of youth on community supervision. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2020