The Weekly MashUp is a recurring segment on Hear Me Out, the Young Minds’ Blog, highlighting the most pertinent local and national news for children’s mental health advocates. If you haven’t already, sign up to be on our email list to get the Weekly MashUp delivered to your inbox automatically, every Friday!
L.A. County Supervisors Debate Whether to Lock Up At-Risk Foster Youth
LA Times – 3.21.15
Over the last three years, decision makers in Los Angeles County–including foster care authorities, the district attorney, the sheriff, and supervisors–have resolved “that sex-trafficked youth should no longer be tried and incarcerated as criminals but rather sheltered in foster care and offered services to protect and help them heal.” However, as the county supervisors now work to establish treatment facilities for these youth, decision makers once again find themselves at odds with one another around one complex question: “When, if ever, is it OK to lock up the victims — foster children, some as young as 10 — to protect them from aggressively manipulative pimps?”
Some argue that the State should “act like a responsible parent to stop children from leaving their home to meet pimps and johns.” However, others argue that putting youth in a locked facility “mirrors the confinement that predators subject them to, and will ultimately fail to cure the problem.” Los Angeles County’s child welfare chief Philip Browning, and supervisor Don Knabe are spearheading the push for locked facilities. However Browning acknowledges that “the support is not there”. According to the LA Times, Knabe “pledged to force a vote”, by the Board of Supervisors, “by the end of the month.”
New Approach Regarding Youth Who Commit Violence in the Home | King County Prosecutors
The Enumclaw Courier-Herald – 3.21.15
King County, Arizona plans to launch a juvenile diversion program aimed at providing services to families struggling with domestic violence. The vast majority of domestic violence cases in juvenile court “involve youth acting out against their parents or siblings at a misdemeanor level. Many of these youth struggle with substance abuse and mental health disorders.” However under the current juvenile justice model, “families in crisis receive services only after their children has been arrested or formally charged.”
The new program, FIRS (Family Intervention and Restorative Services) will connect families with services at the time of crisis and keep youth out of the juvenile justice system. The program has been incredibly successful at the Arizona’s Domestic Violence Alternative Center in Prima County, where the number of juveniles booked for charges of domestic violence has plummeted from over 1,000 youth annually to 82 in 2012.
Children’s Mental Health: A Dish Best Served in The Home
The Chronicle of Social Change – 3.23.15
Bill Baccaglini, CEO of New York Foundling, highlights the benefits of utilizing home-based mental health services for youth over costly hospitalizations. He writes, “Evidence-Based Practices (EBPs) that utilize home-based, family-focused protocols are showing success among youth in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems, and offer enormous promise for the broader population.” According to Baccaglini, clinicians at New York Foundling have found that shifting from the traditional model of care to home-based EBPs has lead to more effective treatment at a fraction of the cost of hospitalization. They have also found that home-based EBPs lead to a much higher rate of treatment completion because the clinician comes to their home. “Certainly, this model is not a solution for everyone,” he writes. “But given the dramatic results we are achieving with some of the most troubled young people in our society, why not consider applying it to some of the many other young people who are so desperately in need of help?”
UN Report Faults Practices Common in U.S. Juvenile Justice
Juvenile Justice Information Exchange – 3.25.15
The United States Juvenile Justice system has received a “scathing” report by the UN’s top investigator on torture, Juan E. Méndez, revealing “routine detention of youths, solitary confinement and sentences of life without parole for children.” Mishi Faruqee of the American Civil Liberties Union says the report identifies “so-called ‘treatment facilities’”, for mental health services and others, “are depriving a child of their liberty by removing them from their families, removing them from their community, and that in itself is intrinsically harmful for young people and intrinsically undermines their healthy development.” Many youth advocates recommend community-based treatment programs as an alternative to confinement, in order to focus on a “wide range of needs, including education, health and mental health, aimed at building on kids’ strengths.”
New Report on Transition Age Youth and the Child Protection System
Children’s Data Network – 3.25.15
Two new reports share comprehensive data regarding transition-age youth (TAY) who are involved in Los Angeles County’s child protection system, as well as the California system at large. The reports by Children’s Data Network in partnership with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, aggregate publicly available data regarding TAY, from the California Child Welfare Indicators Project (CCWIP). Together, the two reports highlight the composition of the current TAY population, trends observed over the last decade, and service experiences from a first report to final exit. The reports are intended to provide an overview “of the unique characteristics and challenges of TAY in the child welfare system,
Insights and Opinions:
OP-ED: What Would Happen to Children if the Supreme Court Dismembers Obamacare
The Washington Post – 3.17.15
9 Celebrity Quotes That Will Change The Way You View Mental Illness
Huffington Post – 3.20.15
Former Footballer Clarke Carlisle Feels ‘No Shame’ About Suicide Attempt
The Guardian – 3.25.15
Text, Talk, Act Contest by Creating Community Solutions
Tuesday, April 14th and/or Thursday, May 7th
Foster Youth Museum: Loss Childhoods Exhibit
in Oakland, every Saturday in March from 1 to 5 pm
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**News stories shared by Young Minds in the Weekly MashUp do not necessarily represent the views of the organization.