Family environmental factors have been implicated in the development of delinquency and adolescent psychiatric disorders. We examined the association between psychiatric disorders and family environmental factors among female juvenile detainees. A hundred female juvenile detainees in a Malaysian rehabilitation center (12–17 years-old) were assessed using the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview for Child and Adolescent and the Family Environment Scale. Majority of participants (56 %) had a psychiatric disorder, the commonest being Disruptive Behavior Disorders (40 %) and Depressive Disorders (30 %). Multivariate analysis found younger age (OR 0.52; 95 % CI 0.29, 0.94), older maternal age (OR 1.15; 95 % CI 1.03, 1.28), family history of crime (OR 7.19; 95 % CI 1.05, 49.43), family environment i.e. achievement orientation (OR 1.11; 95 % CI 1.02, 1.20) and control (OR 1.12; 95 % CI 1.03, 1.22) as significant factors for psychiatric disorder. This study demonstrated the role of age (younger adolescent and older mother), family history of crime and family environment beyond socio-economic status in psychiatric morbidity among female juvenile detainees. Future larger studies are needed to clarify familial-genetic factors that may impact strategies for family-centric mental health interventions.