Children, Families, and the Law, Center on


Date of this Version

Spring 2017


The Whittier Law Journal of Child and Family Advocacy 16:1 (2017), pp. 87-130.


Copyright © 2017 Whittier Journal of Child and Family Advocacy.


The most recent study discussed in this article examines how the media report issues of parental responsibility and blame regarding acts of juvenile delinquency. To accomplish this goal, we examined the frequency, context, and framing of parental responsibility in local and national print media via two content analyses. The results demonstrate that national media sources depict the notion of parental responsibility, whereas local media stories rarely mention parents. The national stories offer distant, more global statements of parental responsibility, while the local, specific stories tend to avoid any parental blame. The findings in this paper mirror public opinion polls that found support for parental responsibility. Understanding the presentation of parental responsibility in both local and national news stories is an important first step toward exploring the potential impact of media attention on public opinion and subsequent policy.