“Duane” Puts System-Involvement Behind Him, Enrolls in College

Teen Boy SmilingDuane was 16 when his father remarried and brought a new family into his life. He was in a new household, with new rules – and his stepmother was much stricter than his dad had ever been.  Duane had trouble adjusting, and before long a fight with his stepsister led his stepmother to call the police.

Duane’s arrest left him confused and scared. He had never had any trouble with the law before. He was a straight-A student who had been working hard to be the first in his family to go to college.  He dreamed of studying engineering because he loved math and science, and wanted to be able to financially support his family.

Suddenly, this future he was working so hard toward was thrown into jeopardy.

Duane was assigned an LCCR defense team, which fought to move his case from the delinquency system into the Families in Need of Services (FINS) system.  FINS is a program that – when it works right – connects youth with court-ordered supports and uses the court’s power to ensure that providers are held accountable for serving children well.  For Duane, FINS meant supervision by a youth services officer instead of potential incarceration and a delinquency record.

Duane’s team was successful. And, eager to put his arrest behind him, Duane got to work. In the FINS program, he performed community service and began going to counseling.  Duane’s LCCR team also connected him with a mentor who provided guidance on applying to college.

A few weeks ago, Duane began his freshman year at a state university. With his FINS case in the past, he can now concentrate fully on his education. He’s studying mechanical engineering while pursuing a minor in art history because, in his words, he wants to be well-rounded.

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