Date of Conferral



Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Social Work


Dana K. Harmon


The purpose of this action research study was to gain an understanding of the factors and risks that contribute to juvenile delinquency of African American male youth involved in the juvenile justice system. Ecological systems theory was used to examine strategies used by social workers with this population and the effectiveness of those interventions. Individual interviews with 5 social workers recruited using nonprobability sampling were conducted. The interviews were audio-recorded, then manually transcribed. Responses were uploaded into the NVivo software system for coding. The software system was used to identify themes and patterns to substantiate the research question. The study focused on treatment strategies and experiences working with African American male youth with involvement in the juvenile justice system. Findings were consistent with the social workers' knowledge of the strategies used to work with African American male youth effectively. Findings included strategies to promote positive change, engage youth families, and promote increased community involvement geared explicitly toward African American male youth. Recommendations were made to incorporate more culturally based treatment models and advocate for policy change. The findings were informative and can be used as a guide for further research expanding on specific policy changes needed. Social workers can contribute knowledge and best practices to promote social change and equality for all youth involved in the juvenile justice system.