Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Criminal Justice

Content Description

1 online resource (ii, vi, 207 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Dana Peterson

Committee Members

Jamie Fader, Megan Kurleychek, Heather Washington


caregiver engagment, child welfare, juvenile justice, youth residential treatment, Caregivers, Problem youth, Parent and teenager, Family social work

Subject Categories

Criminology | Social Work


Support for caregiver engagement in their child’s residential treatment is widespread and growing because of the benefits of caregiver engagement to a youth’s treatment process. This dissertation explores the construct of caregiver engagement, defined as caregiver motivation and expectation for their child’s treatment, caregiver bond with staff and caregiver collaboration on treatment goals and tasks among a cohort of 101 caregivers with a child in a Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Mixed methods were used to qualitatively and quantitatively explore caregiver perspectives and experiences that contribute to or detract from their level of engagement in their child’s treatment process. Findings reveal that the caregivers’ experiences and perspectives relating to out-of-home placement of their child are complex and often relate to their level of engagement in their child’s treatment process. The exploration of this construct from the caregiver perspective, which has been largely overlooked, facilitated a deeper exploration of caregiver engagement than would be accomplished using strictly quantitative methods, illuminating the themes that underlie components of engagement. Implications for policy and practice are discussed.