CRIM 5010 – Theories of Crime
Why children in foster care continue to engage in delinquent behavior?
A Theoretical Approach
Incidence and prevalence of the problem
Children entering foster care are facing a world of the unknown. Their life is now in the hands of a total stranger and they have no idea of what will become of them. National statistics obtained from the Administration of Children and Families show there were an estimated 510,000 children in foster care on September 30, 2006 and 303,000 of these children entered foster care during the 2006 fiscal year (2008). This figure indicates nationally an alarming number of children are ...view middle of the document...
Children tend to act out their thoughts in a visual and physical manner that attracts attention to them. Unfortunately, this behavior results in them becoming involved in the criminal justice system and being labeled as delinquent.
Importance of addressing the problem
With the removal of maltreated children from their homes it would be assumed that they are in a better environment and should be able to grow and develop normally. One important issue involved in removing children from their homes and placing them in foster care is their ability to adapt to the change in their daily lifestyle. They are comfortable in their home environment and this is the norm for them. When they are removed from their home it strips them of their sense of security. Some of these children will suffer from mental illness and others will have behavior problems. Their ability to adjust will not be easy. When social workers become involved with these children they conduct a needs assessment and attempt to place these children in foster homes that are best suited for those needs. However, there is no guarantee that a particular type of foster home will be able to handle the specific needs of a particular child.
A child with behavior problems might be placed in a therapeutic foster home where the foster parents have undergone intensive training in handling children with behavior problems. Many of these children have been identified as delinquents. They enter foster care as a result of their delinquent behavior and continue to exhibit the behaviors while in foster care. Failing to identify, properly diagnose, or provide treatment for foster children’s social and psychological problems can result in their behavior being uncontrollable in the future. Foster children continue to engage in delinquency because their problems were not addressed before being placed in foster care. Addressing these issues early in the process will increase the chances of foster children adapting more abruptly to the change in their life.
Groups impacted by the problem most and societal ramifications
Children impacted by the problem most are those in foster care who experience multiple placements. For them it is hard to understand why they have been removed from their primary home in the first place. Now they are being placed in several different foster homes and are unsure of their future stability. Abuse and neglect situations have been a normal part of the child’s everyday life. They have been allowed to behave according to their own standards. Now there is someone involved in their life who wants to change that behavior. When these children undergo multiple foster home placements they are not able to form a strong attachment to their foster parents. This failure to form an attachment to foster parents leads to continued delinquent behavior which result in their being removed and possibly placed in another foster home or group home. At some point in their...