2009 NSW Young People in Custody Health Survey: Full report
- D. Indig, C. Vecchiato, L. Haysom, R. Beilby, J. Carter, U Champion
- Sydney: Justice Health and Juvenile Justice.
This paper is concerned with the nexus between abuse and neglect and adolescent offending in the lives of some children and young people, and the lack of a coordinated response to these by both the child protection and juvenile justice systems. The “early years” message has had considerable influence, particularly in relation to child protection and early intervention, but “early intervention” has largely focused on interventions “early in life” rather than “early in the pathway”. Infants and young children are clearly vulnerable to abuse and neglect, and there is increasing evidence that children’s early brain development and socio-emotional and cognitive development can be severely compromised by inadequate or harmful parenting (Egeland, 2009). The “window” does not close, however; there are other peak periods of both significant brain development and increased risk—beginning in early adolescence and continuing through adolescence to early adulthood. As Dahl (2004) pointed out: Compared to young children, adolescents are stronger, bigger, and faster, and are achieving maturational improvements in reaction time, reasoning abilities, immune function, and the capacity to withstand cold, heat, injury, and physical stress. In almost every measurable domain, this is a developmental period of strength and resilience.