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New Juvenile Justice Data
A new OJJDP data brief highlights characteristics of girls at various stages in the juvenile justice system, using newly published 2015 data from the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement. The trends are the same: “Girls make up a larger proportion of juvenile arrests than ever before, and are far more frequently locked up for low-level offenses than boys.” The 2015 data shows girls of color continue to be disproportionately detained and committed.

Dr. Subini Annamma’s new book draws on two years spent with 10 girls in juvenile jails and explores the ways multiply-marginalized dis/abled girls of color experience the “school-to-prison nexus.”

Ceres Policy Research is requesting applications from sites that are interested in collecting sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression data as part of their efforts to reform the youth justice system.

“Instead Of Finding Out What Was Going On, They Decided To Lock Her Up.”
Alabama legislators are considering a bill that would limit the offenses that subject a child to placement, addressing the overuse of secure confinement in response to low-level offenses. In 2015, 60% of committed girls in Alabama were charged with a status offense or technical violation — well above the national percentage of girls committed for status offenses or technical violations (34%). The only states with a higher percentage of girls committed on these offenses were West Virginia (81%) and New Mexico (62%).

Washington state is considering a bill that “would end the use of detention in truancy matters starting next summer, and would phase out detention for all other status offenses by 2020.” Girls made up 46% of truancy cases filed in Washington in 2010.

Young Women United is advocating for alternatives to strip searches for girls entering the juvenile justice system in Bernalillo County, New Mexico. The county is working to address the fact it is “incarcerating girls in situations where boys might be given an alternative that would let them stay at home.” In 2015 the county juvenile justice department reported “without realizing it, we treat girls differently because of our desire to keep girls ‘safe’.”

new publication from New Jersey Institute for Social Justice’s Andrea McChristian reports “two-thirds of [New Jersey’s] incarcerated girls have been involved with both the child welfare system and the youth justice system, and all of them have a mental health diagnosis.”

“The Only Reason She Remained Jailed, They Said, Was That The County Failed To Find A Foster Care Placement.”
The San Fransisco Chronicle investigated why a 14-year-old girl in foster care was held in jail for weeks after a court had approved her release.

The lack of placement options for young people in the child welfare system is a growing crisis. In Kansas kids have “ended up on couches, futons and cots in contractor offices across the state” including youth “who needed psychiatric care, but no residential treatment facility had room.”

In West Virginia, an estimated 300 youth in state custody are receiving health care outside the state, in part because of “a lack of Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities.” Oregon just settled a lawsuit about housing a four and six-year-old girl in foster care in a hotel by agreeing to “reduce the number of foster children placed in hotel rooms.” The state “temporarily lodged 213 foster children in motels or hotels for at least a single night in 2017.”

Deportation is Adding to the Child Welfare Crisis and Mental Health Needs
Increased deportations can increase the number of children in foster care, and the threat of deportation can produce toxic stress in children. But the same threat producing toxic stress impedes accessing health care services: “pediatricians are reporting that they can’t screen and refer children who are experiencing toxic stress because they can’t get them into their practices right now.”

“The Biggest Change To The Structure Of Federal Child Welfare Finance”
The continuing resolution signed in February included the Family First Prevention Services Act. The Chronicle of Social Change has a three part series summarizing the bill. One major change: “states will now be able to use funds derived from Title IV-E of the Social Security Act – the entitlement that pays for child welfare – for ‘time-limited’ services aimed at preventing the use of foster care in maltreatment cases. Currently, IV-E is only allowable for spending on foster care placements and for assistance to adoptive families.”

The continuing resolution also reauthorized funding for the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. The majority of caregivers utilizing MIECHV-funded programs are younger than 25. And the CR added an additional four years of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Health and Care For Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Youth
new study in Pediatrics found that “students who are TGNC reported significantly poorer health, lower rates of preventive health checkups, and more nurse office visits than cisgender youth.” The authors also noted: “Health researchers who do not incorporate options to indicate non-binary gender identities and expressions are at risk for having categories that misclassify or exclude certain gender diverse participants. This categorical invisibility and erasure of diverse gender identities and expressions contribute to a lack of knowledge and training for health care providers and thereby place youth who are TGNC at risk for poorer health outcomes.”

bill proposed in San Diego would “amend the list of foster youth rights to include ‘access to gender-affirming health care and gender-affirming behavioral health services,’ such as counseling to cope with gender identity issues or gender confirmation surgery.” Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Education is no longer investigating civil rights complaints from transgender students around access to school bathrooms that match their gender identity.

Criminalizing Survival
Bresha Meadows, who faced the possibility of being tried as an adult for the death of her abusive father when she was 14, was released from confinementin February. Mariame Kaba and and Colby Lenz wrote about how “Bresha’s story reveals the powerful pipeline between girls’ experiences of domestic and sexual violence and their forced entry into carceral systems.”

Natalia Orozco wrote about how, including in the cases of Bresha Meadows and Cyntoia Brown, black girls are regularly criminalized for their survival.




“When given the opportunity to envision the school girls and TGNC youth of color deserve, the young people in our study went beyond expected responses of typical school discipline, culture, and climate towards the creation of learning environments that foster learning spaces where they can learn, grow, and thrive. Young people envisioned new, radical, and solution-based approaches to education that invested in their success. They imagined schools that do not exist right now.”

From the report “The Schools Girls Deserve” by Girls for Gender Equity

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