I've diaried about this young man once before, so this is a bit of an update. I'm a foster parent to a young girl, who has a 16-yo brother. This older brother, along with her older sister, suffered unspeakable abuse at the hands of his step-father, my foster daughter's biological father. He's struggled in adolescence, and using marijuana was one coping skill he acquired along the way.
Last spring, he broke into a neighbor's house. At his sentencing in September, after pretty much spending the last six months in two juvenile facilities, the judge gave him another chance and sentenced him to a residential "treatment" facility. Kind of a half-way house for kids. His behavior had been good enough that he was scheduled to spend three days over Christmas with us, who, along with his sister, are really the only family he has. I've come to like this kid, and both his sisters and I were really looking forward to the visit.
Last week, he was accused of smoking cigarettes in the bathroom. He claims unfairly, and his story rings true. His pass for Christmas was revoked. He quickly went into a bad depression, and, when his head was set to burst the next day, he found a kid in the facility with marijuana, got a hold of it, and smoked it (there was no staff/psych support available at this time in the facility because of an incident with another resident). Clearly a violation of his parole.
A warrant is issued for his arrest; he's back in the local grim juvenile facility. I went to his hearing yesterday, tried to make the case that he could be released to me over the holidays until his hearing on the new charge next week, the judge agreed, subject to approval by Human Services and the Guardien ad Lidem; they declined. This young man is spending the holidays in jail.
I've never been familiar with the criminal justice system before, especially for juveniles. But so many of the kids I see who are in the system just had no hope, no family support, just were dealt with the wrong hand. I've heard of many kids who may have committed a small offense, and the system just has no place for them, so they end up in jail.
It's very sad. We'll be going over there this afternoon, but aren't allowed to take any presents/etc and are only allowed a 1/2 hour visit. I have no idea what the final resolution will be with this young man, but I definitely don't think his needs were met at this facility, but there are so few choices and options for kids in this situation. I still think he'd do well in my household, but they (the experts) want something more "structured". Please hold him and all the other youths who are incarcerated or separated from their families in your thoughts and prayers today.