Legally Kidnapped

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

A lawyer complains about the criminal justice system taking care of foster children

Youth Criminal Justice System is Overused for Children in Foster Care

I have already commented on the use of youth criminal justice legislation as a replacement for child welfare initiatives, as resources for the former are justified under a "tough on crime" approach whereas resources for the latter on the decline along with other public welfare initiatives. But there is another unique difficulty that I have encountered routinely with the youth criminal justice system: criminal sanctions are being used against children who are wards of the state (i.e., are under foster care) in the place of normal disciplinary responses that a parent would impose. That is, wards of the state find themselves before the courts on criminal charges in situations where children who are not in care would be punished instead by their parents.

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