Skipping School Can Get Kids Locked Up?

Every year, thousands of American children are shuffled through the justice system for misbehaviors like skipping school and running away – referred to as “status offenses”—when their families, schools, and communities don’t know how else to help them. While it may seem like the best option, research shows that the juvenile system just isn’t equipped for these kids’ needs. Instead, it criminalizes them and increases their risk of engaging in future criminal behavior. Meanwhile, they continue to grapple with developmental changes or other underlying issues that may be causing them to “act out.”

In this video, Mahsa Jafarian, program associate for Vera’s Center on Youth Justice, and youth advocate Dinae discuss status offenses and the importance of community-based solutions to better help teens grow into healthy adults.