U.S. flag

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

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Preventive Effects of the Family on Delinquency (From Handbook on Crime and Delinquency Prevention, P 257-277, 1987, Elmer H Johnson, ed. - See NCJ-105398)

NCJ Number
J H Rankin; L E Wells
Date Published
21 pages
This paper examines whether 'broken homes' and familial relations impact juvenile delinquency, and assuming the existence of such an impact, reviews a number of family-based intervention strategies.
Research suggests that a 'broken home,' defined as the absence of at least one biological parent from the family, does not directly cause delinquent behavior but may foster other variables that directly cause delinquency. A broken home may affect socialization, social control, family crisis, and social structure, which are instrumental factors in delinquency. An identification of the specific family factors directly contributing to delinquency must be identified before an intervention strategy can be devised. Objective measures may be used to identify key factors in the family situation, so as to reduce reliance on subjective value judgments. Based on the diagnostic assessment, the intervention strategy selected may be residential (foster home or group home), nonresidential (behavioral therapy that involves both parents and children), and family support services (child care, legal assistance, referral services, material assistance, etc.). 56 notes and 12-item bibliography.