Change in Washington State Law Helps Parents With Their Teens’ Mental Health Needs

For about three months, Karen Kelly would drive around Enumclaw, Wash., after midnight looking for her 13-year-old daughter, Hollie. She carried Hollie’s photo with her, pulling over to show it to everyone she saw. Sometimes she got lucky. She learned that Hollie had talked a hotel manager into giving her a free room, or that she was camping out near the P.O. boxes in a post office, or that she’d settled into a tent in the bushes behind an industrial park. Hollie remained in Enumclaw, a town of less than 12,000 40 miles southeast of Seattle.

transitioning: Black teenager male ignoring scolding adult sitting on bench

Positive Youth Development Holds Promise for States Working With Transitioning Youth

The transition out of the juvenile justice system has considerable consequences for the transitioning youth, for the neighborhood into which the youth is transitioning and for society more broadly. For youth experiencing homelessness and insecure housing, that transition is particularly challenging. A recent study from Chapin Hall showed that nearly half the nation’s youth who have experienced homelessness have been involved in the justice system and that those without stable housing upon release are more likely to be rearrested.

Slideshow Focuses on Seattle Youth Experiencing Homelessness

For the last year, the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange has been writing about youth experiencing homelessness, particularly in the Seattle area. This collection in Bokeh Focus is some of our favorite photos from that coverage.
Take a look at what Paul Joseph Brown, Karen Ducey and Matt M. McKnight found.

homelessness: 2 men with life jackets on in boat, smiling.

Seattle Counselor Sticks With Clients For Years In ‘Long Game’

His 6-foot-4 frame folded into the small wooden sailboat, Keaton Hohl waved and shouted “Ahoy!” to each passing boat on Lake Union.

The trip was a chance for Hohl, who is 20 and experiencing homelessness, to have some fun on this cloudy August afternoon. But it was also an opportunity for him to talk about his drinking with Johnny Ohta, a chemical dependency counselor for homeless youth with Ryther, a mental health agency in Seattle. An avid sailor, Ohta is also a board member at the Center for Wooden Boats and often takes clients out sailing.

couch hopping: Portrait Of Smiling Senior Woman Sitting On Sofa At Home

To Ease Reentry, Help the Hosts Who Offer Couch Hopping

When Carlos first came to live with us he was about 16. A friend of my son’s, he had a long history of family and housing instability and had been recently kicked out by his mom. As his informal host, I thought I did everything “right.” We already had a strong relationship; I met with his mom, laid out house rules and talked about his plans for the future.