Placement outcomes of 206 severely maltreated children in the Boston Juvenile Court system: a 7.5-year follow-up study

Child Abuse Negl. 1995 Sep;19(9):1051-64. doi: 10.1016/0145-2134(95)00067-i.


This study examines placement outcomes of 206 severely maltreated children 7.5 years after arraignment in Boston Juvenile Court (BJC) on Care and Protection Petitions. Sixty-seven percent (n = 138) of the sample had been permanently removed from their parents and 33% (n = 68) had their cases dismissed in the BJC. At time of this follow-up, 21% of the full sample (n = 44) were still in temporary custody awaiting permanent placement. In addition, 4% (n = 8) of children had "drifted" back to their abusive/neglectful parents despite prior permanent removal. The average time children in this sample spent in probate proceedings (awaiting permanent placement) had increased substantially to 2.1 years since the last overview study of this sample 4 years ago. The rate of court referral for incidences of reabuse (a C&P filing), or delinquency was significantly lower among children who had been permanently placed (p < .003). Rates of court-referral for reabuse charges were the same (16%) for children who were in temporary custody at the time of follow-up and children who had been dismissed back to the parent for whom the original C&P had been filed. Results are discussed in light of the urgent need to restructure time limits in juvenile court proceedings, integrate adequate tracking of child abuse and neglect cases through and across court and agency boundaries, and the use standardized assessments of abused and neglected children as a tool in the adjudication process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Boston
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Child Abuse / prevention & control
  • Child Abuse / psychology
  • Child Custody / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Child Welfare / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Foster Home Care / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Juvenile Delinquency / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Juvenile Delinquency / prevention & control
  • Male
  • Recurrence
  • Referral and Consultation / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Environment
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urban Population*