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Representing Juvenile Status Offenders, Runaway and Homeless Youth Casey Trupin Rich Hooks Wayman Jessica Kendall.

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Presentation on theme: "Representing Juvenile Status Offenders, Runaway and Homeless Youth Casey Trupin Rich Hooks Wayman Jessica Kendall."— Presentation transcript:

1 Representing Juvenile Status Offenders, Runaway and Homeless Youth Casey Trupin Rich Hooks Wayman Jessica Kendall

2 Presentation Overview  Who are these youth?  Role play  Strategies to keep status offenders out of court  Civil legal needs of homeless youth  Resources/contact

3 Who Are These Youth?  1999 Incidence study: over 1.6 million teenagers experience one-night of homelessness per year – Over 2 million 12 – 24 year olds.  Unaccompanied youth who do not have familiar support  Aged 12 to 24 years  Who are living in: On the streets In shelters or In transitional living programs Places not meant for human habitation (i.e. cars, abandon buildings Unstable temporary nighttime residence (i.e. other people’s homes for short time periods)

4 Typology of Homeless Youth  Runaway Youth - Fleeing youth  Couch Surfers - Transitory - Episodic  Shelter Users - Shelter Hoppers  Street-Dependent Youth - Squatters - Travelers

5 Clusters with Homeless Youth Populations  Youth of Color  Boys on Street  Girls in Shelter  Youth with Mental Health Disabilities  History of Physical and Sexual Abuse  Foster Youth and Youth Offenders  LGBTQ Youth History of abuse  40 – 60% physical abuse  17 – 35% sexual abuse

6 Lacking National Capacity – Turning Away Youth  Federal funding to Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (HHS) in FY ,000 street contacts 43,000 got a shelter bed (less than 10 percent) 3,600 in transitional housing  Lack of federal, state, and local funding is a primary barrier to communities wishing to address the needs of LGBTQ homeless youth.

7 Who Are These Youth?  A Status Offense is: Noncriminal misbehavior by a child that would not be an offense BUT FOR his/her status as a minor.  Truancy  Ungovernability  Running Away  Liquor Law Violations  Curfew Violations

8 Paths to Court Involvement: Causes of Behavior  Causes of Status Offense Behavior Truancy Causes  School;  Family and community; and/or  Student characteristics. Truancy Effects:  Potential delinquent activity;  Educational failure;  Substance abuse;  Teen pregnancy; and/or  Unemployment.

9 Paths to Court Involvement: Causes of Behavior  Causes of Status Offense Behavior Running Away Causes  Child maltreatment;  Substance abuse by child or parent;  Under-addressed mental health issues for child or parent  Child was in the company of someone known to be abusing drugs; and/or  Child spent time in a place where criminal activity was known to occur. Running Away Effects  Delinquency;  Drug abuse;  Mental health issues and risk of suicide;  Health problems; and/or  Risk of sexual solicitation and exploitation.

10 Numbers (Status Offenders)  Estimated 400,000 youth arrested for status offenses in  Estimated 162,000 youth subject of juvenile court “status offense” petitions (1996) (increase of 101% since 1987) 39,300 approx. truancy cases 25,800 approx. runaway cases 20,100 approx. ungovernable or incorrigible cases

11 Girls  Arrest rates for girls increased approximately 35% between 1980 and  61% of petitioned runaway cases are females (annual data)  Approx. 40% of female status offenders are held in “custody” compared to 14% of females who commit delinquent acts.  Female status offenders are held in custody (detention or RTF) at twice the rate of males--on average, 105 days.

12 The Legal System & Homeless & Runaway Youth  Many states, per CAPTA, define a neglected child as one who is w/o proper parental care or control. How many runaway and homeless youth enter the child welfare system under this definition? How many abused and neglected homeless youth are eligible for child welfare services but are either never referred to services or denied.  Several states explicitly list homeless children or youth within their definition of a dependent child.  A handful of states categorize runaway youth as dependent.  Most states (approx. 70 percent) categorize runaway youth as status offenders.

13 Law-Related Statistics: Former Foster Youth  Every year, 20,000 youth “age out” of the foster care system.  As many as 14 percent will be homeless in the first year following discharge.  Foster youth are at elevated risk for several reasons including: Mental health problems Poor school performance Lack of resources & housing education

14 Role Play

15 Keeping Status Offenders Out of Detention & Deeper Court Involvement Placing youth in out-of-home secure settings as a part of the status system is ineffective. Research shows that punitive programs that remove a youth from his community and family make it harder to resolve his problems in the long term. Studies also show high recidivism rates among youth placed in large secure facilities. In fact, studies from 2005, 1997, and 1996 show that between 50% and 70% of youth in large secure detention facilities are re- arrested within two years of release.

16 Pre-Adjudication Tips Motion to dismiss because prerequisite filings aren’t sufficient Case-by-case analysis of how thorough efforts to connect children to community resources must be. Very little guidance in case law, so this leaves room for advocacy. Motion for a continuance until completion of services Use ADR/FGDM Make referral for mental health assessment and access to children’s mental health services

17 Accessing Services  Know services in your community that are appropriate for status offending youth and work with their families E.g. Crisis intervention and respite care, FFT, MST, Wraparound, and Youth Housing Programs  Seek court orders for specific interventions, where appropriate.  Access services through the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT EPSDT) of Medicaid or SSI if the child is eligible.

18 Trial Tips  Substantive defenses Running away  Without good cause?  For a substantial period of time? Truancy  minimum number of unexcused absences that can support adjudication  parental responsibility?  Procedural defenses Investigation Notice Pre-court diversion services  Contesting adjudication after the fact E.g. Improper waiver of counsel? Failure to appoint?

19 Avoiding Deeper Involvement in the JJ System  Defending Contempt/VCO Violation Was the court order valid? Did the order provide clear notice of the conduct prohibited? Did the conduct clearly violate the order?  Avoiding Secure Confinement Know the policy arguments against it Be able to present alternatives

20 Legal Needs of Homeless Youth  Dependency  Paternity  Custody  Education  Disability  Homelessness  Immigration  Emancipation  Status Offender  Truancy  Access to Benefits  Guardianship  Employment  Runaway  Civil Rights  Criminal Law

21 Health Care  Medical Care through Medicaid / EPSDT  Consent to Treatment  SSI  Legal Guardian Permission  Charity Care

22 Immigration  Special Immigration Juvenile Status  Access to Education  Immigration Status

23 Employment  Sealing of Records  Child Labor Laws  Emancipation  TANF / State benefits (see next slide)  Unpaid wages – unfair labor practices

24 TANF and Homeless Youth  Child-Only TANF – given regardless of income of nonparent caretakers  To receive TANF benefits, teen parent must live with a: parent or legal guardian another adult relative; or in another approved living situation  A teen/teen parent can apply without his/her parents  Parents’ income is irrelevant for eligibility

25 SSI and Homeless Youth  The only federal public benefit that provides a monthly cash payment to a single unaccompanied youth with disabilities.  May also receive SSI benefits to supplement their TANF income.  Youth who receive SSI are also automatically eligible for Medicaid, which gives them access to low cost health care.  A youth between the ages of 16 and 18 may sign their own application, as long as they are: mentally competent, have no court appointed representative, and are not in the care of another person or institution.  Right to New Rep. Payee when needed

26 Food Stamps and Homeless Youth  The food stamp program provides funds that youth can use to buy food at grocery stores, certain retail stores, and some restaurants.  No age minimum  No parent signature required  No denial solely due to lack of address/photo id.

27 Family Law  Paternity / Custody  Third Party (Nonparental) Custody  Guardianship  Child Support  Emancipation

28 Housing/Homeless  Abuse and Neglect  Status offender laws  Guardianship  Third Party Custody  Emancipation  Runaway  Contracts for Necessities  Landlord/Tenant  Denial of Services – Fair Housing Issues

29 Education  Enrollment  Homelessness  Truancy  Discipline  Special Education  Financial Aid (FAFSA form)

30 Some Applicable Federal Laws & Policies  Runaway and Homeless Youth Act  Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Act  McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act  No Child Left Behind Act  White House Task Force on Disadvantaged Youth  Family Violence Prevention and Services Discretionary Grants Program  Chafee Foster Care Independence Program

31 SYSTEMIC ADVOCACY More than direct representation  Enact laws or local policies  Create changes to East Access to Benefits  Reform Child Welfare System  Improve Quality of Existing Services  Create Statewide Advocacy Systems

32 Systemic Changes  Enact laws or local policies RHY Act – dedicated local funding stream Foster care services up to age 21 – States opt in Local right to shelter (cold weather rule)  Create changes to Ease Access to Benefits Is there ease of access to health care Ease of access to food stamps, medicaid, and income support (bundle in application process)

33 Systemic Changes – Lawyers Involved  Reform Child Welfare System Ease of access to family preservation services Discharge planning from foster care & juvenile justice Chafee program allows access to housing Juvenile Justice system has re-entry program  Improve Quality of Existing Services Local collaborative setting code of ethics, standards, coordinating services, and evaluating outcomes Training of staff to be culturally competent Identify gaps in local spectrum of services – target toward typology Coordinated outreach – focus on schools Data Collection – HMIS – common outcome measures

34 Systemic Change – Lawyers Involved  Create Statewide Advocacy Systems 10 year plan that includes youth goals State Coalition focused on legislation and administrative agencies Local HUD Continuum of Care process funds youth housing

35 Resources  ABA Center on Children and the Law  ABA Commission on Homelessness and Poverty  ABA Commission on Youth at Risk  National Runaway Switchboard  National Alliance to End Homelessness  National Coalition for the Homeless  National Law Center for Homelessness and Poverty  National Association of the Education of Homeless Children and Youth  National Network for Youth

36 Other Resources  ABA youth policies: es/home.shtml es/home.shtml  OJJDP/ABA video conference: px?id= px?id=  ABA publications & upcoming article series:

37 Contact  Casey Trupin - Columbia Legal Services ABA Comm’n on Homelessness & Poverty Ph. (206)  Rich Hooks Wayman - National Alliance to End Homelessness Ph. (202)  Jessica Kendall - ABA Center on Children and the Law Ph. (202)


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