“Status.” Webster’s defines it as “high position or rank in society.” Yet for many young people, this could not be further from the truth. In the language of social workers and court systems, “dual-status” youths are young people who are involved in the juvenile justice system and child welfare system. Case in point:
She was born to an incarcerated mother. She was repeatedly abused by relatives with whom she spent much of her early life.
By the time she turned 10, she had been sexually abused by an older brother, a pimp, who forced her into prostitution.
She didn’t last long at foster homes and ended up living in group homes in the Northern California area. She ran away from placements dozens of times and continued prostituting herself.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Alicia — whose real name is being withheld to conceal her identity — repeatedly landed in juvenile detention on solicitation or related charges.
One of the biggest problems for these kids are that the adults in their lives who are most positively involved – social workers and probation officers – rarely, if ever, communicated. Even more concerning, probation officers are only involved if and when a child has trouble with the law, and a probation officer’s main concern is to make sure the child doesn’t end up in trouble again … but not necessarily fixing the issue that landed the child in trouble in the first place. (more…)