Exploring the needs of girls of color in the juvenile legal system: A latent class analysis

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Girls of color are overrepresented in the juvenile legal system and experience high levels of unmet needs. Assessing and meeting girls' needs may prevent system contact or deeper involvement by providing for these needs in community-based settings, rather than through juvenile legal systems. This study used a structured interview-based assessment adapted from an advocacy intervention to examine girls' self-identified needs and perceived effectiveness and difficulty of accessing resources for these needs. Descriptive analyses found that girls reported needing resources beyond those typically assessed and supported in existing programming, such as technology, extracurriculars, and employment. Latent class analysis revealed four subgroups of girls with distinct but overlapping areas of needs: (1) High Employment, Current School, and Logistical Needs, (2) Low Overall Needs, (3) High Employment Needs, and (4) High Employment, Current School, and Social/Emotional Needs. Girls also reported wide variation in their ability and difficulty accessing needed resources, with employment being most difficult to access and school and social/emotional resources being the easiest to access. These findings suggest that more comprehensive and individualized approaches to programming and community services for system-impacted girls of color are essential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican journal of community psychology
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • adolescents
  • contexts
  • empowerment
  • juvenile justice
  • latent class analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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