I know some of these kids. Most do not know who their fathers are – but that is hardly their fault or their problem, is it?
When I meet with them, whether as a guardian ad litem or as their court appointed attorney, they are grateful for a listening ear. Most have no family to fall back on, and many are survivors of abuse and neglect.
Some have been diagnosed as bipolar, or as having other serious mental health disorders. One thing they all have in common – at the age of 14, 15, 16…they are behind bars when what they needed was mental health treatment and a secure place to live.
We can pay now – or as a society, we will surely pay later.
Some cultures use “the long house” for adolescents, not because their family of origin has failed, but as a rite of passage into adulthood.
Perhaps looking at a “longhouse” model for adolescents from failed families, rather than the so-called group home would be a better model. Certainly, it is time to think outside the box.
Some of these adolescents may be appropriate for the “empty nester corps” http://bluemassgroup.com/s… while others need the alternate model of the longhouse.