Making court the last resort: a new focus for supporting families in crisis

11/30/2008
Sara Mogulescu

Parents who struggle to control chronically misbehaving youth sometimes turn to “status offender” systems for help. Until recently, status offender systems regularly referred these youth to juvenile court, where they were subject to the same punitive interventions as youth charged with criminal activity. Today, a new paradigm for status offender services is emerging: refer at-risk young people and their families to social service programs in their communities and use the juvenile justice system as a last resort. Making Court the Last Resort: A New Focus for Supporting Families in Crisis, describes this new paradigm by highlighting successful status offender system reforms in Florida, New York, and Connecticut.