Examining the Link between Child Maltreatment and Delinquency for Youth and Emotional Behavioral Disorders


SED 506 Behavior Management of Children and Youth with Learning and Behavior Problems


Summary of “Examining the Link between Child Maltreatment and Delinquency for Youth and Emotional Behavioral Disorders”


The two authors of this article, Malmgren and Meisel, believe that youth with EBD are overrepresented in the juvenile correctional settings. In fact, eight percent of youth in special education are labeled as EBD, but in a Correctional facility 42 percent of all youth in special education are labeled as EBD. So these two authors decided to do research on this topic to understand why this is the case.


Most of the youth that they had studied had it pretty rough as children. Many of these youth with EBD had other special needs or disabilities. Whether or not they had EBD when they started out, school officials claim that because of their special needs or disabilities characteristics, they could be characterized as EBD. Some of these characteristics could very well come out of being discouraged or frustrated. Many of us, even though we might have never been diagnosed with EBD do tend to get upset, frustrated, or discouraged when we can’t do something. Children or youth with special needs are no different, they just express their frustration differently than we do, and instead of working with the problem, sometimes school officials try to get rid of the problem by getting rid of the child.


As soon as they see a problem, the school officials tend to contact the Juvenile Correctional system as support, and sometimes were moved to another setting. The authors of this research stuff feel that movement is a risk-factor in itself. The youth in this study, all through school, were treated as if they were troublemakers.


Not only has the school system done a disservice to their children with special needs or disabilities, so has their family situations. As Malmgren and Meisel had noted in their research, poverty is a major theme among children who is thought to have EBD. There could be numerous reasons for this. They may not have been able to put the nutrients needed in their bodies. All of us have been jealous at one time in our lives. Most of us know how hide that jealously, and some of us have been hurt because of our jealousies or someone else’s and sometimes we may not be able to hide that. Well, again, children dealing with poverty are no different.


Not only has many of these students dealt with unjust treatment in school, lived in poverty, they have also been mistreated by families. Malmgren and Miesel have mentioned in their research that many of the youth that were labeled as EBD has suffered maltreatment such as physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse from their families more than what would have been expected from children with no disabilities. It is no surprise to me that these children might be angry over what happened to them, and they express that anger the only way they know how.


A person might think to him or herself, all of these conditions that characterizes youth with EBD, seem like they could be overcome. That person thinking that would be right. So what is the answer to this a person may ask. Well, according to Malmgren and Miesel these characteristics of children with EBD can be overcome if they are found early, thus EBD in that child can be prevented.


In my opinion the answer to all of the above problems can be cured first by showing these youth all the love we can. Then we need to model behavioral for them and many times their parents. Thankfully, at least in my school, resource centers are trying more and more to reach out to parents. That is where we should reach out to, because many times parents are the answer. If the parents can be helped, then most likely the children will follow suit.


Malgren, Kimber & Meisel, Sheri (2004). Examining the Link Between Child


Maltreatment and Delinquency for Youth with Emotional Behavioral Disorders Child Welfare League of America. Volume 83, Number 2. [online] available: http://www.kyvl.org. Retrieved, April 4th, 2004.