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NCJ Number: 93154 Find in a Library
Title: Revamping the Adolescent's Justice System To Serve the Needs of the Very Young Offender
Journal: Juvenile and Family Court Journal  Volume:34  Issue:4  Dated:(Winter 1983-1984)  Pages:21-30
Author(s): L Sametz
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 10
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: After reviewing the interaction of young children under 10 years of age with juvenile court, this article discusses child developmental perspectives (cognitive and social development), delinquency theory, and recommendations for modifications to existing treatment and prevention programs as well as the establishment of new services that target young children.
Abstract: The opening review notes that the juvenile system has not targeted its approach and services to very young offenders and that this group requires appropriate early intervention so as to prevent the development of more serious delinquency. The developmental perspectives discussed focus on Piaget's cognitive developmental approach to child development and social learning theory. Cognitive theory assumes an effective interaction between the environment and the child which helps to create higher levels of cognition. Social learning theory holds that all behavior is acquired through interactions with the environment, particularly through imitations of observed adult and peer behaviors. Delinquency theory is multifaceted, so that no single explanation of delinquency is adequate. However, the discussion indicates that social learning theory is particularly applicable to younger children, who are especially prone to imitation. Recommendations for modifications to existing programs include the development of community-based treatment programs that use attachment bonds to significant others who can provide positive behaviors and responsibility for destructive behavior, and the use of diversion and probation options such as counseling, remedial education, recreation programs, foster care, and group care. Recommnedations for new services include school-based programs, early intervention, and mental health services (parent education and hot lines). Forty-seven references are listed.
Index Term(s): Cognitive developmental theory; Juvenile courts; Juvenile delinquency factors; Juvenile delinquency prevention; School delinquency programs; Social Learning
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