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Single-Parent Homes

The problem of juvenile delinquency continues to ravage social fabric of the modern societies. According to available statistics, 63% of suicide cases in the United States are reported from single-parent homes. A significant 90% of all homeless and runaway children are also reported to have been raised up in single-parent families (Cox 46). Another 71% of all teenagers who drop out of school are also from fatherless homes (Siegel and Brandon 117). These statistics indicate that delinquency among children is, to a large extent, a consequence of the family structure.

Juvenile delinquency among the youth is a cross-cutting issue (Hemovich and Crano 2100).  The youth who engage in juvenile delinquency are likely to find themselves in juvenile justice institutions.  Such youth are 4 times likely to drop out of school (Siegel 67; Regoli, Hewitt, and Matt 213). This implies that the youth are likely to miss out moral and educational development and achievements (Regoli, John, Hewitt, and Matt 254). Besides, juvenile delinquents are likely to be involved in drugs and substances abuse that adversely affect their health, well-being and realization of their development (Rhoads 80). Some of these drugs end up causing mental disorders that further sink the youth deeper into criminal vulnerabilities with potential for recidivism even in adulthood. The youth who engage in criminal acts are likely to be labeled deviant and are likely to suffer from lifetime stigma (Leiber, Museck, and Featherstone 84).

Most studies focusing on the role of family structure and involvement of parents in the life of the children have come to consensus that addressing the problem of delinquency must begin with a focus on the family (Breivik, Olweus, and Endresen 415; Lawrence and Mario 142). However, in some societies, the family backgrounds of children who come into contact with the juvenile justice system were not necessarily from single-parent homes. It is this difference that justifies the need for current and credible studies on the relationship between single-parent family structure and children delinquency (Slesnick, Reed, Letcher, Katafiasz, Jones, Buettner 16).

In conclusion, family structure, particularly single-parent family significantly contributes to delinquency. Contradicting study findings on this subject warrant empirical studies to inform and guide formulation of effective policies to address the issue.

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