Award Date

May 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Policy and Leadership

First Committee Member

M. Alexis Kennedy

Second Committee Member

Emily Troshynski

Third Committee Member

Helen Neill

Fourth Committee Member

Kimberly Barchard

Number of Pages



Children and youth involved in the child welfare system are an incredibly vulnerable population that could potentially have an increased risk for being sexually exploited. In 2014, Federal Public Law 113-183 mandated that all child protective service (CPS) agencies in the United States improve services of commercially sexually exploited children and youth (CSEC). This federal directive requires that states and counties train their staff in identifying and helping children who have been or are at risk for being trafficked. To explore this complex issue, quantitative methods were used. The data were analyzed for CPS engagement among the CSEC victims identified by Clark County Juvenile Justice in 2017. This research is the first project in the United States to look at how many youth were under the care of CPS while being pulled into the delinquency system for their sexual exploitation. Dispositions, arrests, violations of probation, and re-arrests are compared for CPS and non-CPS involved youth. Although this study did not have statistically significant findings, it was found that over half of the arrested youth studied were CPS involved. This finding supports the 2014 call to action from the federal government to implement policy change within child protective services.


Child protective services; Commercially sexually exploited youth; Human trafficking; Juvenile delinquency


Criminology | Criminology and Criminal Justice | Public Administration | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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