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Representing Juvenile Status Offenders , Runaway and Homeless Youth


Representing Juvenile Status Offenders , Runaway and Homeless Youth Casey Trupin Rich Hooks Wayman Jessica Kendall – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Representing Juvenile Status Offenders , Runaway and Homeless Youth

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

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

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
  • 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 peoples homes for short time periods)

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

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

Lacking National Capacity Turning Away Youth
  • Federal funding to Runaway and Homeless Youth Act
    (HHS) in FY2008
  • 740,000 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.

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
  • Truancy
  • Ungovernability
  • Running Away
  • Liquor Law Violations
  • Curfew Violations

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.

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
  • 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.

Numbers (Status Offenders)
  • Estimated 400,000 youth arrested for status
    offenses in 2004.
  • 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

  • Arrest rates for girls increased approximately
    35 between 1980 and 2000.
  • 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.

The Legal System Homeless Runaway Youth
  • Many states, per CAPTA, define a neglected child
    as one who is w/o proper parental care or
  • 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
  • A handful of states categorize runaway youth as
  • Most states (approx. 70 percent) categorize
    runaway youth as status offenders.

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

Role Play
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.

Pre-Adjudication Tips
  • Motion to dismiss because prerequisite filings
    arent 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
  • Use ADR/FGDM
  • Make referral for mental health assessment and
    access to childrens mental health services

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.

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

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
  • Did the conduct clearly violate the order?
  • Avoiding Secure Confinement
  • Know the policy arguments against it
  • Be able to present alternatives

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

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

  • Special Immigration Juvenile Status
  • Access to Education
  • Immigration Status

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

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 income is irrelevant for eligibility

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

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.

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

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

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

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

SYSTEMIC ADVOCACYMore 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

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)

Systemic Changes Lawyers Involved
  • Reform Child Welfare System
  • Ease of access to family preservation services
  • Discharge planning from foster care juvenile
  • 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
  • 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

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

  • ABA Center on Children and the Law
  • ABA Commission on Homelessness and Poverty
  • ABA Commission on Youth at Risk
  • National Runaway Switchboard
  • http//
  • 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

Other Resources
  • ABA youth policies http//
  • OJJDP/ABA video conference http//
  • ABA publications upcoming article series

  • Casey Trupin - Columbia Legal Services
  • ABA Commn on Homelessness Poverty
  • Ph. (206) 287-9665
  • Rich Hooks Wayman - National Alliance to End
  • Ph. (202) 942-8257
  • Jessica Kendall - ABA Center on Children and the
  • Ph. (202) 662-1782
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