When I became a foster parent in 2005, I came into the role with so many assumptions about children and families living in poverty. Like many of us that spend years volunteering and mentoring within our respective communities, I hadn’t realized the interconnectivity of the systems until those agencies became part of both my personal and professional life. The statistics around justice involved youth were shocking back then, and they’re still devastating today.
Approximately 90,000 youth under the age of 21 are detained or confined in public and private detention centers, group homes, camps, ranches, and other correctional institutions. African-American youth endure the highest rates of involvement compared to other racial groups. They make up 16 percent of all youth in the general population, however, makeup 30 percent of juvenile court referrals, makeup 38 percent of youth in residential placement, and makeup 58 percent of youth admitted to state adult prisons.
Foster parent impact:
The majority of youth who are justice involved have experienced some type of trauma which is why our therapeutic approach is trauma informed care. Instead of asking what’s wrong with this kid, we focus on understanding what happened to the youth.
A high percentage of youth (65 to 70 percent) involved with the juvenile justice system have a diagnosable, mental health disorder and nearly 30 percent of those experience severe mental health disorders. The average cost per youth is $240.99 per day based on the state-funded, post-adjudication, residential facilities in which 70 percent of adjudicated youth reside.
Showcase Group will focus during 2020-2022 on expanding its advocacy, case management, and emotional intelligence work done in communities in which justice involved youth and families reside. Within the next three years, our goals include services for 600 youth through our programs and filling two very critical full-time positions.
Thank you for your continuous support of our work.
John Kennebrew, LPC
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