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  1. From a Linked In conversation thread;
    Mary Carrier Arcement
    Mary Carrier
    Mary Carrier Arcement
    Supervisor Juvenile Dept Lafourche Parish District Attorney’s Office/Secretary to ADA Anthony P Lewis

    After starting in the juvenile section of the law, the problem is the start of a good family home. Not every jv in the system has a chance. Those that deal with these children are at a loss. Our outlets for those who truly need us, are no longer available. Not every child in the system, has that chance and it is a down right disgrace. My heart goes to them. I am only one individual, but, I am sure there are you or there who feel the same way?
    Like (3) Reply privately Flag as inappropriate 19 days ago Robin B., Dana H. and 1 other like this
    Mary Carrier Arcement
    Mary Carrier
    Mary Carrier Arcement
    Supervisor Juvenile Dept Lafourche Parish District Attorney’s Office/Secretary to ADA Anthony P Lewis

    After starting in the juvenile section of the law, the problem is the start of a good family home. Not every jv in the system has a chance. Those that deal with these children are at a loss. Our outlets for those who truly need us, are no longer available. Not every child in the system, has that chance and it is a down right disgrace. My heart goes to them. I am only one individual, but, I am sure there are you or there who feel the same way?
    Like (1) Reply privately Flag as inappropriate 19 days ago Dana H. likes this

    Robin
    Robin Boucher
    at Department of Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention

    Unfortunately those of us in the helping occupations do have limitations on what we can do. We are unable to promise every child the basics of safety and health care because we are not a Big Brother society. Parents continue to have the vast majority of the say-so regarding their children, and sometimes their wishes are counter to the long or short term health (physical, mental) of their child/ren. Our country’s roots demand strict laws regarding what government agents (which is what many of us really are) may or may not do within the family structure. I am not arguing for a Big Brother society but am pointing out the limitations. I agree with the desire of the poster on a theoretical and philosophical basis but on a practical basis, we can not guarantee these things to children if parents are unwilling to do that which is necessary for the provision of these services. And it happens (or, rather, doesn’t happen) – a lot. A recent non-delinquent example is the controversy over autism and vaccines. Scientists vehemently deny any connection but many parents still do not want their children to be vaccinated. As a result, measles and chicken pox are returning. We can’t force these parents to vaccinate their children. Similarly, we cannot force parents to enforce curfews, monitor their children, clean up their own acts, etc. etc. We live in a “free” country and this is one unfortunate characteristic of that.
    Like (1) Reply privately Flag as inappropriate 18 days ago Dana H. likes this
    Jackie Ross
    Jackie
    Jackie Ross
    Social Services Administrator
    Top Contributor

    Those of us in the helping professions have limitations if we choose to work that way. It seems to me that the former writer is taking a very lofty approach to some very horrible real life problems. Of course “Big Brother” is watching over us, but hardly for the good of the republic. It has been said that, “It takes a village to raise a child” & this is so true. If families are not capable of raising their own children, then either systems become involved, or organizations that are able to make a difference, & sometimes ordinary citizens taking an interest. Sometimes, the faith based community can step in too. I don’t consider myself as a social worker, a “government agent”. Of course parents can be forced to be responsible for their children, but if they’re children are in the judicial system, then these parents can be court ordered to be responsible for them. Unfortunately, in all too many states though, it takes a gutsy family court judge to do that, & there aren’t enough of those around. If it’s not families who are responsible for their own children, than who is? If their children are under the age of eighteen, parents are very much supposed to be responsible, & if they are unable to, then some system has to step in. Your words sound like you are part of a Child Protection Agency. Here in New Jersey, that agency is called DYFS (Division of Youth & Families) & they’ve done, & continue to do a very botched up job of protecting our most valuable resource, our children.
    Like (2) Reply privately Flag as inappropriate 17 days ago Leslie T., Dana H. like this
    Dana H.
    Dana
    Dana H.
    Volunteer-Legal Researcher
    Top Contributor

    Very well said Jackie! very well said.
    Like Reply privately Flag as inappropriate 17 days ago
    Dana H.
    Dana
    Dana H.
    Volunteer-Legal Researcher
    Top Contributor

    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
    Like (1) Reply privately Flag as inappropriate 17 days ago Jackie R. likes this

    Robin
    Robin Boucher
    at Department of Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention

    Hmmmm sounds like I have been misinterpreted and insulted somewhat as well. I am a juvenile court counselor in NC. I am a govt agent just like social workers are because we are paid and supervised by local or state govts and receive funding as well from the federal govt. We don’t go around calling ourselves that but we are, and that is why we logically and rightly should have limitations. The apparently gutless judges in family courts in NJ are most likely making judgements based on limitations of the laws affecting their arena (plus other factors such as limited community services). My larger point is that children cannot be guaranteed safety because parents don’t always act in their best interests, and those of us in the System, govt agents, do not have carte blanche to ensure this. Yes the Village and faith communities are great other resources but even they do not have the (legal) power to act in loco parentis when a determined parent does not want them too. And this is fact. That’s all I was trying to point out. I don’t intend to be. a Debbie Downer; I just feel led to inform those not in the System that there are very real limitations in human services work. Unless we identify the true barriers and challenges to issues, we won’t be able to adequately correct that which needs correcting. I hope my aim is too lofty.
    Like (1) Reply privately Flag as inappropriate 16 days ago Dana H. likes this
    Jackie Ross
    Jackie
    Jackie Ross
    Social Services Administrator
    Top Contributor

    I want to believe that this site is not about personal insults, but rather for good minds with good intentions, to try to make a difference in the lives of our most vulnerable citizens, our children. To put an end to the former writer’s feelings of indignation, I want to add that during the over four decades of being a social worker, I never once thought of myself as a “government agent”. If I would have, then my advocating for teens who are in trouble with themselves & the law, & their families would be for naught. I don’t ever think about the “limitations”, but rather how far we can go within our ability, to help make change, & to protect those teens who need it. My wish is that parents throughout this country be made to be responsible for their children. Maybe those parents who are not behaving in a responsible way, & who have children who are in trouble, maybe they should be the ones standing before judges!
    Like (2) Reply privately Flag as inappropriate 16 days ago Leslie T., Dana H. like this

    Robin
    Robin Boucher
    at Department of Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention

    Hear, hear. Then why the statements about lofty commenters and gutless judges? It appears we are likely speaking of the same goals & concerns. If we want to discuss credentials, I have been a court counselor for 24 years and am still in the trenches, dealing directly with juveniles and families. Most families simply need assistance and guidance. But some have no interest in making changes – and unless obvious, egregious and legally reprehensible acts have been uncovered and made provable in a court of law, then limits regarding what involved personnel – govt agents, faith helpers, private mental health providers,etc. – come into play. And that probably should be the way it should happen in order to preserve individual and family rights. But the cost is that often victimized kids, of different intensities, will fall thru the proverbial cracks. There is no present way to ” guarantee” the safety and health of children without their parents’ approval.
    Like (1) Reply privately Flag as inappropriate 16 days ago Dana H. likes this
    Dana H.
    Dana
    Dana H.
    Volunteer-Legal Researcher
    Top Contributor

    Robin while I can appreciate your position and the length of time you have held that position I am going to have to agree that there are gutless judges out there. Maybe not in your courts but they are rampant in a few states that I know of. The system really does need to be providing all of the essentials that the bad behaved parents should have been doing in the first place. Some families do need assistance and guidance but it’s a little too late once that child is placed with the juvenile system for them to be crying help…that should have taken place way before the child got into trouble. Most certainly don’t want to go to CPS for help for their own bad reputations. I read somewhere that the prisons/jails/facilities are all responsible for the inmates safety and well being, does this not apply to juveniles as well? You said it best when you said that these kids will fall thru the proverbial cracks so then it makes not only the families guilty for failing these kids but the system as well. I agree with you Jackie in I don’t look at social workers, or court clerks, ect as “government agents” the only ones that I consider to be such are IRS agents, and that’s an entirely different subject matter.
    Like Reply privately Flag as inappropriate 16 days ago

    Robin
    Robin Boucher
    at Department of Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention

    Dana, it is not an entirely different subject. I continually harp on the “govt agent” moniker to emphasize my point: that anybody employed and mandated by government bodies to insert themselves into the lives of families is acting as a representative of a government agency. Because we live in America, a country that is historically wary of any kind of government interference in the lives of individuals and families, laws are present that restrict the power that government bodies and representatives may impose on people. These restrictions frequently keep court counselors, social workers, etc. from doing what they feel is appropriate. “Due process” requires that if, say, a social services agency petitions to remove a child from a home, that the parent be given all opportunities (as laid down in that state and local government’s statutes, with some leeway for that agency’s policies regarding same) to rectify whatever is going on. This scenario of course assumes no immediate emergency situation requires the removal of that child (again as determined by state and local government statutes, with some leeway for that agency’s policies). We all can point to situations over the years in which our child clients fall through the cracks, most of the times because we cannot prove that which we need to. Who can monitor an individual case 24-7 to get the goods? Many times I have been disappointed by judges’ rulings and orders, but I am convinced that the majority of times it is because they have to follow due process and are themselves restricted by the rule of law. Judges in this country (for the most part, I am guessing) are loathe to be seen as overreaching and paternalistic because this invites appeals and accusations of Big Brotherism, not to mention going against overall professional expectations. They too are “government agents”. Judge Judy is entertainment and nothing like what a real courtroom judge does – if a judge expects to remain on the bench or be considered for other higher positions. In addition, local helping agencies are awash in need, and the truth is some type of triage is necessary to keep from overwhelming these systems; judges hear from these agencies and consider that too. These are just a few of the considerations judges face taht I am aware of and surely there must be more.
    Words mean different things to different people. For instance, when I explain to the multitudes of people who come into my office wanting me to lock their child up or place them out of the home for disobedience, I give them a civics lesson. The civics lesson boils down to the historical reticence of the American people and government to give government agents like me the authority to do what they request because it gives too much power to the government. This power, having more or less been present in the past, resulted in abuses of power and thus began a series of Supreme Court actions (beginning mainly in the 1960’s) that greatly reduced that power. So today even children cannot lose their freedom without due process and meeting high standards for the loss of that freedom. I use the term “government agent” during these lessons; parents get what that means. The price of increasing and respecting childrens’ civil rights – and the rights of parents too – sometimes means that kids fall through the cracks.
    In the end, we must recognize the factors and barriers involved when proposing and enacting well meaning reforms and act accordingly if we are going to be effective in making reforms.
    Like (1) Reply privately Flag as inappropriate 15 days ago Dana H. likes this
    Steve S.
    Steve
    Steve S.
    Retired

    I don’t usually get involved in these discussions but I have to admit that Robin is speaking about the real world and Jackie of the world we wish it to be. I too have worked in a Juvenile hall and have dealt with many different agencies. Parents are finding their hands tied. We have had parents coming to the door begging us to help with out of control kids.Our hands are legally tied. Having worked high security units as well as booking and the courts, it is a fact that over 90% of the kids coming into the Juvenile Institutions/Courts have mental health problems. Most juvenile facilities are ill-equipped to deal with mental problems.Mental Health as well as drug abuse funds for juveniles have been reduced and in some places eliminated entirely. Unless you have worked in a Juvenile facilities I would give Juvenile counselors and Juvenile correctional officers all the credit and respect they deserve. They work with/in contact with the minor, parents, teachers, social workers, the many agencies that can be involved. Somebody said they didn’t consider themselves “an agent of the government “. Well to bad. Whether you like it or not…you are. If you work for the government and have trouble accepting that maybe you are in the wrong line of work. Working with these young human beings is reality. Robin, your “government agency” is lucky to have you.Stay Safe !
    Like (2) Reply privately Flag as inappropriate 13 days ago Dana H., Robin B. like this

    Robin
    Robin Boucher
    at Department of Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention

    Well thanks Steve and I don’t mean to be contentious or ill willed towards others. I hope to add light to what I see as the realities I must recognize in order to improve clients chances.
    Like (1) Reply privately Flag as inappropriate 13 days ago Dana H. likes this
    Steve S.
    Steve
    Steve S.
    Retired

    Kids are products of their family environment but most of all the environment they live in, the neighborhood, school etc. We as child care workers are mostly reactionary, after the fact. We deal with the problems and situations. Not much in prevention. The Justice system works the same way. They tend to throw money at whichever problem gets the most press. Gee, should we build more prisons or have more programs for youth ? If more money were spent on our youth, there should be less need for more prisons.
    To say :We believe that promising children the basic rights of safety and health care will solve our nations problems with violence, crime, education, and public safety and make life better for all of us I believe is talking about the reality of what is going on. This is a statement by someone who has not worked with kids from the street or gangs. Kids who are on crack or meth. They are basically frying their brains.One thing I have noticed over the years is money wasted on programs that either don’t work or do too little. One thing I respected about my department was that with funding, they would try anything, and if it doesn’t work, they brainstorm and try something else instead of standing around patting themselves on the back about a program that doesn’t work so long as they get the funding. They were always open to suggestions.
    Like (1) Reply privately Flag as inappropriate 7 days ago Dana H. likes this

    Robin
    Robin Boucher
    at Department of Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention

    Helping agencies are compensating mechanisms for sectors of the society that are unhealthy. Our culture does not really operate on a basis in which every member is considered useful nor places expectations of behavior and responsibility on them. We enjoy many freedoms but we also are very loose in our social structure.
    The desire to guarantee safety and health care is a noble one. Its just that the present state of affairs requires the overcoming of such huge hurdles makes it a much bigger enterprise than what many of us realize.
    Like (1) Reply privately Flag as inappropriate 7 days ago Dana H. likes this
    Steve S.
    Steve
    Steve S.
    Retired

    It’s a nice thought but it will never work
    Like Reply privately Flag as inappropriate 2 days ago

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