Facts for Families
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Teens: Alcohol and other Drugs
Children & Divorce
Teenagers with Eating Disorders
The Adopted Child
The Depressed Child
Helping Children After a Disaster
Children & Firearms
Home Alone Children
Children with Learning Disabilities
Children & Lying
Children Who Steal
Normal Teen Development - Middle & Early HS
Normal Teen Development - Late HS Years and Beyond
Parenting: Preparing for Adolescence
Child Sexual Abuse
Child Abuse - The Hidden Bruises
Return to Top
Abuse and Neglect
Abuse: any physical injury, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse inflicted on a child other than by accidental means by those responsible for the child's care, custody, and control, except that discipline including spanking, administered in a reasonable manner, shall not be construed to be abuse.
Child: any person, regardless of physical or mental condition, under eighteen years of age.
Neglect: failure to provide, by those responsible for the care, custody, and control of the child, the proper or necessary support, education as required by law, nutrition or medical, surgical or any other care necessary for the child's well-being.
Probable cause: available facts when viewed in the light of surrounding circumstances which would cause a reasonable person to believe a child was abused or neglected.
Preponderance of the evidence: that degree of evidence that is of greater weight or more convincing than the evidence which is offered in opposition to it or evidence which as a whole shows the fact to be proved to be more probable than not.
Those responsible for the care, custody, and control of the child: those included but not limited to the parents or guardian of a child, other members of the child's household, or those exercising supervision over a child for any part of a twenty-four hour day. Those responsible for the care, custody and control shall also include any adult who, based on relationship to the parents of the child, members of the child's household or the family, has access to the child.
Return to Top
The underlying premise of juvenile accountability is that youth who violate the terms of their probation should be held accountable for their violation through the swift, consistent application of sanctions that are proportionate to the offenses—both as a matter of basic justice and as a way to combat delinquency and improve the quality of life in the community. The goal is to reduce juvenile offending through accountability-based sanctions focused on both the offender and the Family Court Services.
Additional Information: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention -
Best Practices in Juvenile Accountability Overview
Return to Top
When anyone under age 21 drinks alcohol, we call it underage drinking. And underage drinking is against the law, except in special cases, such as when it is part of a religious ceremony. Underage drinking is also dangerous. It can harm the mind and body of a growing teen in ways many people don't realize.
Missouri's Abuse and Lose It Law (Section 577.500 RSMo 1994) clearly states that anyone who is found guilty of or pleads guilty to any alcohol or drug related offense shall have his/her license revoked for one year. In other words, the judge must revoke the license of anyone found guilty of any drug or alcohol related offense and who is under twenty-one years of age. Alcohol and drug related offenses include consumption of, sale of, or possession of alcoholic beverages and illegal drugs.
Visit StopAlcoholAbuse.Gov for Federal resources that provide information on underage drinking and ideas for combating this issue.
Return to Top
What Is Bullying?
Bullying is a form of abuse, harassment, violence, and/or manipulation that harms or frightens other youth. Children act like bullies in several ways—usually when one or more kids use threats, violence, or intimidation to negatively affect someone else. In addition to physical harassment, bullying happens when one kid or a bunch of kids are really mean to someone just to hurt her feelings, laugh at her, show dislike, or prove that one child isn’t as good as the others.
What Are Signs of Being Bullied?
Warning signs that a child is being bullied are: being afraid or unwilling to go to school, having lots of headaches or stomachaches, sleeping poorly or having nightmares, losing interest in school, and suffering academically. More signs to watch for include:
- Comes home with torn, dirty, or wet clothes or damaged books, or “loses” things without being able to give a proper explanation of what happened
- Has bruises, cuts, scratches, and injuries that can’t be explained
- Chooses an “illogical” route to and from school
- Seems unhappy, downhearted, depressed, or has mood swings with sudden outbursts of irritation or anger.
- Steals or asks for extra money to bribe or soften up the bully.
What If Your Child Is Being Bullied?
The best way to know what’s going on in your child’s life—at school, after school, during practice, or while hanging out with friends—is to be involved. Ask lots of questions and listen to their answers.
Try and create a daily routine where your child tells you about his day. Take the time to listen and respond.
If your child reports feeling bullied, don’t laugh or shrug it away or explain that it’s “just the age.” Bullying is serious—treat it that way. Be prepared to speak to teachers, coaches, and other adults in charge because they may not have noticed the behavior. One possible solution is to have a meeting to discuss what is happening.
Having a Bully-Free Family
How can you stop a child’s bullying behavior? Good question. One way to start is to examine the dynamics of your own family. Is it possible that the child is copying behavior he’s seen modeled? What are your family’s rules about how to talk to each other? Let your children know what’s okay and what’s not okay. Every child needs to learn the importance of treating other people with respect. Make sure your children understand that it’s not right to take advantage or hurt someone just because they feel as if they can.
Humor is a great element to include in your family’s conversations, just make sure to keep it positive. Playful teasing is normal—usually it’s something funny between two people who already know each other. For example, if your child finishes everything on his plate at dinner and his grandparent says, “I guess you weren’t very hungry,” that would be gentle teasing. In contrast, mean teasing is hurtful and is intended to hurt the person’s feelings.
If a child’s behavior seems like bullying to you, it probably is. Parents need to set limits and show what acceptable behavior is. After all, bullying can even happen in the home. If parents ignore behavior they don’t like, they are accepting it. Do not ignore this behavior or hope he’ll grow out of it. Bullying is not something that is likely to disappear. Bullying hurts everybody!
- Who do you hang out with at school? At the playground? During recess?
- How do your friends treat other kids?
- What’s it like in the halls and on the bus?
- What makes it okay to make fun of the child everybody picks on?
- Do you think some kids deserve a hard time?
- How do you feel when you see somebody being bullied?
Excerpt from United States Department of Health and Human Services - Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSA) at their Keeping Youth Happy & Drug Free Family Guide
- SAMHSA’s National Mental Health Information. Bullying Is Not a Fact of Life, Take Time To Talk About Bullying, Take Action Against Bullying.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration. Stop Bullying Now!, Bullying Among Children & Youth.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Bully Roundup.
- Kidshealth.org. Bullying and Your Child, Dealing With Bullies, What Kids Say About Bullying.
- National Crime Prevention Council. Bully Prevention
- Kids Against Bullyinghttp://www.pacerkidsagainstbullying.org/html/parentsPros.asp
Counseling is an interpersonal helping relationship which begins with the youth or family exploring the way they think, how they feel and what they do, for the purpose of enhancing their life. The client determines and declares to the counselor what the counter productive behaviors are and then makes decisions about which one(s) will be worked on. The counselor helps the client to set the goals that pave the way for positive change to occur. Counseling is a major component of Field and Residential Services treatment plans.
Return to Top
Community service is an alternative disposition for youth which requires that youthful offenders perform charitable services either entirely or partly in lieu of other judicial remedies and penalties.
For instance, a fine may be reduced in exchange for a prescribed number of hours of community service. In some cases, the subject may be able to choose their community service, which then must be documented by credible agencies, or they may be ordered by the judge to perform certain services or work for certain agencies. Sometimes the sentencing is specifically targeted to the youth's offense.
The philosophy behind alternative sentencing is at least partially that providing services that benefit society is a more constructive way to hold youth accountable for their behavior. It is also thought to be a way to introduce the idea of ethical action into the value of the youthful offender.
Community service is only one of a variety of alternative sentencing techniques designed to be more effective at rehabilitating youthful offender, to reduce recidivism, to benefit society, and to reduce the overall cost to society of sentencing criminals. Other alternatives include targeted payback of funds to victims, and drug addiction treatment rather than residential placement.
Return to Top
Child Trends DataBank reports that illicit drug use is associated with many harmful behaviors, including risky sexual behavior and delinquency. 85% of those who have gone on to more severe drug usage, began with marijuana. Illicit drug use is associated with short and long term physical health problems including abnormal heart rates, seizures, kidney failure, respiratory failure, and brain damage. Youth who use illicit drugs have higher death rates than non-using peers, due to increased risk of car accidents, suicide, homicide, and illness. Many mental health problems are linked to illicit substance abuse including depression, anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, developmental lags, delusions, and mood disturbances.
The most common substances of abuse among teenagers involve alcohol, followed by tobacco, and then marijuana.
SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) reports that current illicit drug use among youth ages 12-17 continues to decline. Peak years for drug use occurred in the mid 1990s. By 2002 the rate for use in the past month had dropped to 11.2 percent and in 2005 had dropped to 9.9 percent.
Marijuana use in the past month has declined from 8.2 percent in 2002 to 6.8 percent. Alcohol use has declined with 16.5 percent reporting current use and 9.9 percent report binge drinking. These declines are more significant in that they occur after years of relatively unchanged rates.
The Surgeon General reports a fundamental shift from destructive perspectives in regards to substance abuse in previous generations towards healthier decisions in the current generation of youth. This trend began with the decline in tobacco use and then spread toward a shift and decline in illicit drug use. Now this trend is moving towards a corresponding decline in alcohol use among teenagers.
African American students are less likely to use illicit drugs. Students whose parents are educated are less likely to use illicit drugs than students whose parents did not complete high school. Students who plan to complete college are less likely to use illegal drugs.
At Jackson County Family Court in 2006, 1,426 Detention Admissions occurred of which 50% tested positive for illegal drugs. This represents a 15% decline from 2005 when 65% tested positive and 75% who tested positive in 2001. 78% of the positives were for Marijuana. The closest other drug positive was for amphetamines at 10.6%.
3043 drug tests were performed for probationers in 2006 with 11% testing positive. This represents a significant decline from 2001 when 28% tested positive. The residential programs conducted 1451 tests in 2006 with 6% testing positive. McCune averaged 25 residents in substance abuse treatment per month while Hilltop averaged 10 residents per month receiving treatment.
Additional information about illegal drugs from the Missouri Highway Patrol.
Return to Top
Warning signs can draw parents' attention to potential problems their children may have with alcohol and other drugs which require immediate intervention, especially if the changes are sudden or extreme. Parental concern should intensify if several of the following warning signs occur at the same time:
- Mental Changes:
- Memory lapses
- Poor concentration
- Emotional Changes:
- Mood changes, flare-ups, irritability, and defensiveness
- Physical Changes:
- Low energy
- Bloodshot eyes
- Lack of coordination
- Slurred speech
- Behavioral Changes:
- School-related problems, poor attendance, low grades, recent disciplinary action.
- Rebellion from family rules
- Switching friends and reluctance for parents to meet new friends; moving from positive peer association to negative peers
- Poor appearance
- Lack of involvement in constructive and pro-social interests
The primary action is to communicate with your children. Learn how alcohol and drug use can harm their mind, body, and emotions. Talk frequently with your child regarding what you expect of them should they be exposed to/offered illegal drugs. Become involved in your child's activities and encourage them to participate in supervised groups and activities that challenge and are fun and drug free. Be a good role model. Teach your children to choose friends wisely and how to form positive relationships. Demand that children never ride with someone who has been drinking. Praise them for positive decisions they make.
Return to Top
The Family Drug Court Program (established April 1998) and Juvenile Drug Court Program (established March 1999) mission is to provide judicially managed community-based services, close supervision and specialized treatment to parents and juveniles whose substance abuse places their children at risk of substantially increased intervention by the justice system. The primary goal for the FDC is to stop substance abuse by parents which threatens the safety and permanency of their dependent children. The primary goal of the JDC is to stop substance abuse by delinquent juveniles or that of their parents which places the juveniles at risk of further delinquent behavior. Specific eligibility criteria govern admission to both programs. Services offered to all participants include substance abuse treatment, mental health assessment, academic and vocational assessment, transitional living, and other services as needed or required by the participant. Features of the FDC include a specialized Children's Division Unit that case manages the majority of the participating clients. This unit, consisting of five(5) case managers and a supervisor, is physically based at Family Court. Urinalysis testing is completed in house for FDC clients and on an as needed basis for JDC clients. Incentives are offered to both FDC and JDC clients for clean UA time. JDC also has a specialized unit of three(3) Juvenile Probation Officers and a supervisor. Treatment agencies providing services to JDC clients utilize JDC test sticks and emphasize testing as part of the treatment experience. State funding through OSCA assists participants through wrap around services such as partial payments on overdue utility bills, rent deposits, purchase of school uniforms, or initial purchase of psychotropic medications. Financial support of both programs is funneled through COMBAT and Court budget allocations. For additional information, contact the program manager, Penny Clodfelter, LCSW, LMSW, at 816-435-4757.
Return to Top
Jackson County Family Court Services implemented and maintains three diversion seminars, among them the Drug Diversion Program in an effort to address low level drug offenses without unnecessarily involving judicial intervention. Those youth referred to the court for first time and low level drug offenses attend a five week drug education program Adolescent Diversion Education Program (ADEP). The program has been successful in that recidivism rates have been around 11%, lowest of the diversion programs offered.
Return to Top
Electronic Monitoring is surveillance and community based sanctions of a juvenile using a monitoring device and transmitter as detection tools. Using radio frequency technology, the receiver monitors the presence or absence of the juvenile within a specified range. Should the juvenile move outside the specified range and the specified time, the violation is reported to the Home Detention staff. Electronic monitoring is an alternative to a secure detention and to assure the juvenile's appearance at court.
Return to Top
The EQUIP Program is a three-part intervention method for working with antisocial or behavior disordered adolescents. The EQUIP program combines the use of peer-helping group methods with cognitive development and skills training intended to motivate and teach youth to think and act responsibly. The approach includes training in moral judgment, anger management, correction of thinking errors, and prosocial skills. EQUIP's basic components – mutual help and teaching – support each other. The EQUIP program stresses holding youth accountable for their behavior. It emphasizes the participant's positive potential while recognizing their social skill deficiencies, social developmental delays, and cognitive distortions. The goal of the program is to "equip" youth with the necessary skills and resources for helping their peer group members and themselves through the process of developing a pro-social value system.
The EQUIP intervention model is used throughout Family Court Services.
Return to Top
Family Violence is defined as aggressive physical contact between relatives which may result in injury and/or emotional harm.
Children who are raised in homes with excessive punishment or who witness physical abuse in their family are at risk of continuing that same behavoir in their relationships with others - as a child and as an adult. Children learn from observing their parents, the most important people in a young child's life.
Return to Top
Gangs are defined as an ongoing group or organization that:
- Is formal or informal, with three or more members
- Has a common identifier(s) such as the same name, colors, symbols, or other identifying characteristics; and
- Has criminal activities as one of its primary goals.
Visit the National Youth Gang Center for additional information about gangs.
Gang information from the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Return to Top
Juveniles as Victims
The Crimes Against Children Research Center (CCRC) at the University of New Hampshire combats crimes and abuse against children by providing high quality research and statistics to the public, policy makers, law enforcement personnel, and other child welfare practitioners. CCRC is concerned with research about the nature of crimes including child abduction, homicide, rape, assault, and physical and sexual abuse as well as their impact.
Return to Top
Juveniles Prosecuted as Adults
Upon its own motion or that of any party in the case of a child of at least 12 accused of a felony, the juvenile court may order a hearing to consider whether to dismiss the delinquency petition and transfer the child for adult prosecution. (However, the court must at least hold a hearing to consider transfer where the child is accused of one of a number of listed offenses—first or second degree murder, first degree assault, forcible rape, forcible sodomy, first degree robbery, or distribution of drugs—or has committed two or more previous felonies.) Before the hearing, a written report on the child 's history, record, offense, rehabilitation prospects, etc., must be prepared for the juvenile court's consideration. Following the hearing, the court may dismiss the case to permit adult prosecution if it finds that the child is not a proper subject to be dealt with under the juvenile law, taking into account a number of determinative considerations (including "racial disparity in certification") specified by law. An order of dismissal to permit adult prosecution must be supported by written findings.
Once an Adult, Always an Adult
Once the juvenile court has dismissed a petition to permit prosecution of a child as an adult, its jurisdiction over that child with respect to future offenses is forever terminated, unless the child is subsequently found not guilty in adult court.
Criminal Blended Sentencing
In sentencing a juvenile who has been transferred for criminal prosecution, the court may impose both (1) a juvenile disposition and (2) an adult sentence, execution of which is suspended pending successful completion of the juvenile disposition. If the juvenile thereafter violates a condition or commits a new offense, the court may continue the juvenile disposition or revoke it and impose the adult sentence, as it sees fit. When the juvenile reaches the age of 17, a hearing must be held, after which the court must (1) continue the juvenile disposition (if the Division of Youth Services is willing to retain custody), (2) place the juvenile on probation, or (3) revoke the suspension and transfer the juvenile to the Department of Corrections. The Division of Youth Services must petition the court for a hearing if it seeks to release such a juvenile at any time before his 21st birthday, or if it determines that the juvenile is beyond the scope of its treatment programs. In either case, the court must hold a hearing and choose between (1) placing the juvenile on probation or (2) revoking the suspension and transferring the juvenile to the Department of Corrections.
© 2000 (original copyright); © 2004 (most recent copyright) National Center for Juvenile Justice
Citation: Griffin, Patrick. 2005. "Transfer Provisions." State Juvenile Justice Profiles. Pittsburgh, PA: National Center for Juvenile Justice. Online. Available: http://www.ncjj.org/stateprofiles/.
Return to Top
Parenting is the active engagement of the parent(s) in the supervision, compliance and programs of the juvenile's on probation. The parent assists in successful termination of the court's supervision of their child by providing household rules and curfews, agreeing to participate in the parents component of skills building, and assuring their child's active participation in the youth skills building class, performing community service hours and attending school.
Return to Top
This list is just the start. Additional info can be found on the Internet, at your school or local library, and our links are a good source for additional information