Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Terrence A. Tollefson

Committee Members

Cecil N. Blankenship, Eric S. Glover, James H. Lampley


The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between family type and criminal behavior of juveniles in Tennessee who were referred to Juvenile Court in 2006. The population used in the study comprised the juveniles who were referred to the Tennessee Juvenile Courts as reported by the Tennessee Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges in 2006.

This investigation focused on the criminal behavior as indicated by number and type of referrals to the Juvenile and Family Court system in Tennessee. The data were analyzed by family-of-origin type, age group, and geographic region in Tennessee.

The findings of this study indicate there was a difference in criminal behavior of children referred to the Juvenile and Family Court system in Tennessee in 2006 according to family-of-origin type with referrals. For the family-of-origin types with referrals to the juvenile courts (TCJFCJ), 20,734 (26.2%) of the referrals came from married couples, 5,899 (7.5%) of the referrals came from fathers only, 33,802 (42.8%) of the referrals came from mothers only, and 18,620 (23.6%) of the referrals came from other family-of-origin type. For all family-of-origin types in Tennessee (TN 2006) with referrals to the juvenile court system, 20,734 ( 4.4%) of the married couples had referrals , 5,899 (11.3%) of the fathers only had referrals, 33,802 (17.8%) of the mothers only had referrals, and 18,620 (3.2%) of the other family-of-origin type had referrals.

The findings also show that as children approach the age of 18, there is a dramatic increase in illegal conduct and a less dramatic increase in status offenses. The number of referrals for offenses against persons and offenses against property tend to have a constant increase as children approach age 19.

The results also show that in East Tennessee, status offenses had the highest number of offenses and offenses against persons had the lowest number of offenses. In West Tennessee, offenses against persons had highest number of referrals and status offenses had the lowest number of referrals.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.