Why Do Some Kids End Up in the Juvenile Justice System? Part II

September 28, 2012

The blown-up copy of a child’s final report card gave an overall grade of “F,” which was written in large text and circled. The teacher’s comment? “Have a great summer!”

When Martha Stone, Executive Director of the Center for Children’s Advocacy (CCA), visited the Connecticut Health Foundation’s (CT Health) policy committee in November of 2011, she brought the report card as an illustration of findings from CCA research funded by CT Health. CCA provides holistic legal services for poor children. At that time, CCA was in the midst of conducting a longitudinal study of 102 of their clients’ educational records to identify early mental health risk factors that had been missed by the educational and health care delivery systems.

In any given year, more than one in five Connecticut children struggle with a mental health or substance abuse issues. More than half receive no treatment. These issues are often accompanied by poor academic performance, absenteeism, and other school-related difficulties.

I interviewed Martha about CCA’s research last year. The research has since been completed, and can be read in CCA’s report: Blind Spot: Unidentified Risks to Children’s Mental Health.

How can we prevent children with mental health issues from slipping through the cracks? Martha appears with Jay Sicklick, Deputy Director for CCA, in this video, where they discuss their policy recommendations for ensuring children are healthy, happy, and productive in school.

Please download a copy of the report. Where do you think Connecticut should start in implementing these suggestions?


Image from fotolia.com

2 Responses to Why Do Some Kids End Up in the Juvenile Justice System? Part II

  1. Bill Dorman says:

    The earlier you can identify and address, the better your chance for success. There are so many dynamics going on outside the school for these kids, it can be very, very difficult for them to break free of that to have success.

    But we can’t give up………

  2. Martha Stone says:

    Absolutely, we can’t. That’s why it is all the more imperative, as the report suggests, that pediatricians, early childhood professionals and kindergarten teachers have an especial responsibility to notice the red flags as early as possible and be proactive about them.

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