Hiding in Plain Sight: First Time Survey of Georgia’s Homeless Young People

If you were expecting Dickens, forget it. Homeless kids in Georgia do not have a special look.  They’re hiding right in front of you. That’s the first thing we learned from Mary, who looks like any other teenager in Atlanta.  Her hair is tied up with a pink ribbon on top of her head and several subtle piercings adorn her face and ears.  Dressed in a sweatshirt and jeans, she is quick to flash her big, bright smile.  Mary is one of an unknown number of homeless young people living in Atlanta. Mary’s experience is not very different from that of many homeless teens.  After a stormy relationship with her mother, she was kicked out of her parents’ house on her 18th birthday three weeks ago. “I didn’t get along with my mom, but my dad was okay.  We got along,” she said.

Playing Football Without a Helmet

Working with kids in juvenile court is fast moving, intimate and direct…a lot like playing football without a helmet. That insight comes from  retired juvenile court prosecutor Elisabeth MacNamara.  This former ADA in DeKalb County, Georgia says the courts need more programs to help families and children in crisis. MacNamara spent four years supervising  prosecutors  in juvenile court,  and 20 years in Superior Court. She retired last May to become the President of the League of Women Voters of the United States.  She shares some candid and surprising views about the juvenile justice system.