In 1996, California's youth population under age 18 was approximately 8,866,400 (Casey Foundation 1998).
Of the State's children, approximately 8 percent were living in families with incomes below 50 percent of the poverty level in 1995. Further, it is estimated that in 1995, approximately 17 percent of California's children under age 13 were living in working-poor families or families where at least one parent was working 50 or more hours a week but the family's income was still below the poverty level (Casey Foundation 1998).
California ranked 40th in the country in terms of teen birth rate for 1995. This same year, the birth rate in the State was approximately 43 births per 1,000 young women ages 15-17. This was up from 31 births per 1,000 young women in 1985 (Casey Foundation 1998).
Overview of the Juvenile Justice System
The focal point of the juvenile justice system in California is the county probation departments, which are operated by each of the 58 counties in the State. The juvenile court in each county is located within the County Superior Court system and places most of the newly petitioned juvenile delinquency cases under probation supervision (California Office of Criminal Justice Planning 1994, pp. 1-2).
The California Youth Authority (YA) is the State juvenile correctional agency. The YA's legislative mandate is to protect the public while providing a full range of services to the juvenile offenders in the State. Among the services provided by the YA are 10 juvenile institutions, 4 juvenile camps, 22 parole officers, and a variety of prevention and early intervention programs (California Office of Criminal Justice Planning 1994, p. 2).
The Formula Grants Program in the State is operated out of the Office of Criminal Justice Planning.
Offense Patterns and Processing of Juvenile Female Offenders
The following statistics give an overview of the information available on female offending and processing patterns in California. Note that the juvenile crime analysis provided in California's three-year comprehensive State plan for 1994-96 does not provide data divided by gender.
Approach to Female Offenders
At the direction of California's Juvenile Justice State Advisory Group, a research report was conducted on gender bias in the California juvenile justice system. The report includes a field survey, a literature and policy review, and information on focus groups. This report will be used as a resource for developing new juvenile justice and delinquency prevention programs. The report is completed and will be available for review in the fall of 1998.
Annie E. Casey Foundation. 1998. KIDS COUNT Online Service. Annie E. Casey Foundation, Baltimore, MD.
California Office of Criminal Justice Planning. 1994. California Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Three Year Plan FY 1994. Submitted to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Washington, DC.
California Office of Criminal Justice Planning. 1995. California 1995 Challenge Activity E Grant Application. Submitted to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Washington, DC.
Poe-Yamagata, E., and J.A. Butts. 1996. Female Offenders in the Juvenile Justice System: Statistics Summary. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Washington, DC.