May, 1980 Home   Newsletters

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Taking the Initiative on Development Plans
President's Message (Barbara Farwell)
More about National Convention
League Takes Action!
And Some Impressions of Washington...
Needs of the Status Offenders
Pat 'n Jerry Show
Earn $ for LWV
Planning Ctte Speaker
Help Wanted
Calendar
Notes on Leaguers
State Linking Committee Meets
Membership

Needs of the Status Offenders

Karen White of the first Circuit Family Court, reports that legally, status offenders are runaways, incorrigibles, truants. She suggested that they should be seen as youngsters who have been hurt and can't talk about it, who need help but do not know how to ask. They are abused and neglected children. The youngster who gets as far as the Court has serious multiple problems. The majority are referred to the justice system by their parents. Most of them come from one parent homes, and have had poor attendance records in school.

There are two kinds of youngsters on runaway. One is running to something and the other is running from something. The ones running to something are the pleasure seekers. They tend to be ruthless, impulsive, emotionally immature. They are the drug users, and drug abusers. Those who are running from something are usually terrified of something in the home, such as sexual abuse, physical abuse, and alcoholic parents.

White stated that counseling is a necessity in the placement of youngsters. The first priority of substitute care is keeping the family together. Long term placement out of the home should be the last resort. Rather, temporary short term facilities, offering 30 to 90 day cooling off periods, are important for status offenders. Only a few of the youngster will never be able to go back home.

White stated that she would like to see some kind of independent living quarters for 17 year olds because it is difficult to put them in foster homes. Many of them do not need treatment. She also suggested a need for boarding homes where an adult is there not as a foster parent but as a housekeeper, and finally for professional foster homes where payments make it possible to have one parent at home.

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