Child Protection Service interference in childhood and the relation with mental health problems and delinquency in young adulthood: A latent class analysis study

Laura Duin, Floor Bevaart, Carmen H. Paalman, Marie Jolette A. Luijks, Josjan Zijlmans, Reshmi Marhe, Arjan A.J. Blokland, Theo A.H. Doreleijers, Arne Popma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Most multi-problem young adults (18-27 years old) have been exposed to childhood maltreatment and/or have been involved in juvenile delinquency and, therefore, could have had Child Protection Service (CPS) interference during childhood. The extent to which their childhood problems persist and evolve into young adulthood may differ substantially among cases. This might indicate heterogeneous profiles of CPS risk factors. These profiles may identify combinations of closely interrelated childhood problems which may warrant specific approaches for problem recognition and intervention in clinical practice. The aim of this study was to retrospectively identify distinct statistical classes based on CPS data of multi-problem young adults in The Netherlands and to explore whether these classes were related to current psychological dysfunctioning and delinquent behaviour. Methods: Age at first CPS interference, numbers and types of investigations, age at first offence, mention of child maltreatment, and family supervision order measures (Dutch: ondertoezichtstelling; OTS) were extracted from the CPS records of 390 multi-problem young adult males aged 18-27 (mean age 21.7). A latent class analysis (LCA) was conducted and one-way analyses of variance and post-hoc t-tests examined whether LCA class membership was related to current self-reported psychological dysfunctioning and delinquent behaviour. Results: Four latent classes were identified: (1) late CPS/penal investigation group (44.9%), (2) early CPS/multiple investigation group (30.8%), (3) late CPS interference without investigation group (14.6%), and (4) early CPS/family investigation group (9.7%). The early CPS/family investigation group reported the highest mean anxiousness/depression and substance use scores in young adulthood. No differences were found between class membership and current delinquent behaviour. Conclusions: This study extends the concept that distinct pathways are present in multi-problem young adults who underwent CPS interference in their youth. Insight into the distinct combinations of CPS risk factors in the identified subgroups may guide interventions to tailor their treatment to the specific needs of these children. Specifically, treatment of internalizing problems in children with an early onset of severe family problems and for which CPS interference is carried out should receive priority from both policy makers and clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number66
JournalChild and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2017


  • Child Protection Service
  • Delinquency
  • Latent classes
  • Multi-problem
  • Young adults

Cite this