Patrick McCarthy,President & CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, today called for transforming the juvenile justice in the United States into “a system that saves young lives rather than one destroying young lives. It will happen if the people working with youth “have the will, commitment and the courage” to make the changes needed. He made his remarks at the Casey Foundation hosted Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiatives conference in Houston. He added, “This moment in history is filled with opportunity to make a real difference, and to end forever the misuse of detention and the folly of the reformatory. If we miss this opportunity, this moment may not come again for many years.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation is commencing a new juvenile justice initiative aimed at reducing juvenile incarceration by 50 percent in 10 years, beginning with the release of a report that makes the case for such a drastic reduction.
“An avalanche of research has emerged over the past three decades about what works and doesn’t work in combating juvenile crime,” stated the report “No Place for Kids,” written by freelance reporter Richard Mendel for the Baltimore-based foundation. “We now have overwhelming evidence showing that wholesale incarceration of juvenile offenders is a counterproductive public policy.”
Bart Lubow, Casey’s director of programs for high-risk youth, said the foundation will begin work next year with a series of states where officials want to make policy shifts that will affect their reliance on youth correctional facilities.
“The report marks the launch of an extended period of work intended to limit youth incarceration and replace it with a dispositional system that will work better and produce better results,” Lubow said in an interview with Youth Today.
There’s some new research about how to better protect undocumented children in the child welfare system. It comes out of Texas where less than one percent of children in state care last year were undocumented, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s report called Undocumented and Abused. Eighty-five percent of those children were Hispanic. The report maintains that a blanket policy to send them all home is not the answer. It goes on to explain in detail how a child can get special immigrant juvenile status (SIJS).