Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Judicial perspectives on legal custody and immunization of adolescents involved in the juvenile justice system: Quantitative analysis of a judicial survey

Anne S. Douds, Justice Law and Crime Policy, George Mason University, Bull Run Hall, Room 301A, 10900 University Blvd., MS 4F4, Manassas, VA, USA

Learning Objectives for this Presentation:
By the end of the presentation, participants will understand the hurdles that the legal status of juvenile justice youth present with regard to immunization delivery and the powerful influence judges may exert over immunization of adolescents within their jurisdiction.
By the end of the presentation, participants will better understand judges' policies and practices with regard to mandating immunizations for juvenile justice youth.

Youth involved in the juvenile justice system are at a higher risk for being under-immunized than their peers outside the system. The legal status of these pre-adjudicatory youth poses unique problems for practitioners who are concerned with immunization coverage. The judiciary is in a unique position to influence immunization policy and improve the public health of these young people.

To provide background to participants on the nature and scope of the problems inherent in juveniles' legal status vis a vis their immunization status.
To provide quantitative analysis from a survey of judges regarding the circumstances under which they would take leadership in immunization policy.

This study surveys a nationally representative sample of juvenile and family court judges via e-mail and internet communication to assess whether and to what extent they are willing to require that juvenile justice youth receive state-mandated and/or ACIP-recommended immunizations.

Multivariate analyses will provide preliminary results of when and under what circumstances judges are willing to intervene in adolescents' immunization health care.

The results of this study can be used to provide rational guidance to juvenile justice practitioners, to improve the health of this medically underserved population, and to assist in the CDC's goal of maximizing immunization coverage.