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NCJ Number: 136526 Find in a Library
Title: Serious Child Mistreatment in Massachusetts: The Course of 206 Children Through the Courts
Journal: Child Abuse and Neglect  Volume:16  Issue:2  Dated:(1992)  Pages:179-185
Author(s): M S Jellinek; J M Murphy; F Poitrast; D Quinn; S J Bishop; M Goshko
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 7
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Data on a sample of 206 cases of severely abused or neglected children brought before the Boston Juvenile Court on care and protection petitions were used in this 4-year prospective study of the court process of mistreated children.
Abstract: The children had an average age of 4.2 years at the beginning of the process; the average length of temporary foster care was 2.3 years. Of the parents involved in these cases, 67 percent were found to be poor, 84 percent had one or more psychiatric disorders, and 81 percent had been known to the Massachusetts Department of Social Services prior to their current court appearance. Parental compliance with court-ordered services was the best predictor of the judge's decision to return the child to parental custody or to order permanent removal. Of the 63 children returned to their parents, 29 percent had substantiated reports of subsequent mistreatment over the 3-year follow up period. The authors conclude that the present system ill serves abused children. They recommend increasing cooperation between the courts and social service agencies, tightening procedures regarding continuances, and giving higher priority to the child's need for a safe and permanent home. Furthermore, clinical research in the form of ongoing follow up of individual children should be integrated into the court process. 24 references (Author abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Child abuse and neglect hearings; Child custody
Index Term(s): Judicial attitudes; Massachusetts
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