Jeremy’s Arrest a Symptom of Greater Struggles

Teenager sitting alone on the curbAt the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights, we understand that juvenile arrest can be symptomatic of greater issues going in the child’s life. That’s why we listen. We learn. And we help.

“Jeremy” was just 15 when we met him. He’d been arrested before. This time, his judge threatened that if he didn’t go to school and abide by a curfew, he’d face prison.

In working his case, we learned that Jeremy had a chaotic home life. He was a victim of physical abuse, and his parents struggled with addiction. At a young age, Jeremy felt that the less time he spent at home, the safer he was both physically and mentally.

The tension Jeremy internalized often came out through less-than-appropriate outlets. He argued with teachers, fought with other students, and regularly got kicked out of class. Now he was getting arrested.

In assembling Jeremy’s case plan, we first set about finding him a safe and stable place to live. We spoke with several relatives and found an aunt who would happily take him in. Thankfully, Jeremy’s mom agreed to the move.

We also worked to connect Jeremy with a therapist who could help him address the symptoms of trauma that were disrupting his life. Jeremy made clear that he wanted to work with a male therapist. Not only did we find a male therapist to work with Jeremy, but one that agreed to do so on a pro bono basis.

At school, Jeremy’s LCCR youth advocate checked in with him often, providing guidance and advice (and the occasional ride) when smaller issues threatened to derail his progress. Even smaller interventions like this can make a huge difference when supporting vulnerable child.

By the time we closed Jeremy’s case, his attendance and behavior at school had steadily improved. He had no new arrests. With stability at home, he can continue to grow into a healthy young man.

For many of our children, their entry into the justice system can be traced to struggles elsewhere in their lives. By stepping in and addressing these root issues, we’re not only helping children like Jeremy thrive, we’re also increasing community safety as more children leave the justice system behind for good.

Your support makes the success of Jeremy and kids like him possible. Thank you!

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