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  Families and Friends Organizing for Reform of Juvenile Justice or FORJ-MO is the first parent lead juvenile justice organization in Missouri working to change the laws that turn our children into adults, with horrific outcomes, once they enter the adult criminal justice system.  
 
 
 
A very good friend and colleague of mine, Grace Bauer, has a son who has been involved in the system for over a decade. The following is a list that she devised of things to do and not to do when you have a court-involved child.

Juvenile Court:

  • Never  plead guilty; get an attorney, protect your child's rights
  • Remain silent; get an attorney and protect your child's rights
  • People in suits with long, impressive titles and college degrees do not know more about your child than you do
  • You are the best judge of your child's strengths and weaknesses
  • Children usually do much better at home with services than locked up on a correctional institution
  • People running institutions and juvenile courts do not necessarily have your child's best interest at heart; get an attorney, protect your child's rights
  • People in suits with long, impressive titles and college degrees sometimes make mistakes
  • Get an attorney and protect your child's rights. This is not the job of anyone in the system; it is solely on YOU as the parent.

Adult Court:
  • Never  plead guilty; get an attorney,  protect your child's rights
  • Make the state prove their case
  • Visit your child regularly.  If you can't visit, write frequently
  • Stay in touch with the prison chaplain
  • Encourage your child to prepare for a day when he/she is free
  • Keep your child updated on family issues and happenings

Overall:
  • Never give up!
  • Document everything
 
 
 

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