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Child and Adolescent Development Policy

            The state of New York implemented a new law called Raise the Age. Raise the age establishes new ages for trying juveniles for crimes. The Raise the Age policy was recently signed into law. It will go into effect later in the year. In the past, juveniles as young as the age of seven could be tried as an adult (NY Courts, 2021). When the law goes into effect, the minimum age for being tried as an adult is 12. Children do not have the capacity to understand their actions. The brain does not fully develop until the youth reaches their twenties. Therefore, they cannot be treated as adults in the NY criminal justice system. 

In 2019, 800 children under the age of 12 were arrested and charged with a crime (Campbell, 2021). A vast majority of the arrests involved African American and Hispanic/Latino American youths. 90% of youths arrested under the age of 12 were minorities (Campbell, 2021). Criminalizing children at a young age impact their development. The new policy requires local social services departments to establish differential response programs. The purpose of the differential response program is to connect youths that have come into contact with the juvenile justice system. The goal of the program is to connect youths to proper mental health care and community resources to promote healthy development and deter future delinquency. 

            Incarcerating children is harmful to their development (Barnet et al., 2017). America incarcerates more youths than any other country on the globe. Once a juvenile has been incarcerated, their risk of committing crimes as an adult goes up ten-fold. Instead of rehabilitating the youth to make them more productive members of society, they are treated and punished like adults. While incarcerated, the medical and mental health needs of the youth are not addressed. High rates of unmet health needs complicate the youth’s future life outcomes (Graber, 2019). Social determinants, such as poverty and minority status, increase the risk for incarceration. 

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Advocacy

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Advocacy

To aid in the child and adolescent development policy that is to prevent children from undergoing juvenile delinquency, I would embrace the use of a community engagement program aimed at getting to help such children as a community. With a community engagement, it becomes possible to root out the cause of such behavior leading to the crimes committed by children. Hence with a well set out program, it becomes possible to find solutions and even ways of preventing juvenile delinquency from happening. Additionally, it would teach a lot to the community into helping and raising their children.

Your community’s well-being is at stake when you advocate for them. It’s about advocating for your community’s rights and needs at the appropriate level of government. Advocacy can also take the form of educating the general public and government officials about a problem, encouraging citizens to share information about a problem, and providing citizens with information on how to track and influence the government or participate in grass-roots nonpartisan issue campaigns.

People are more likely to donate their time and money if they have a better knowledge of the issues your organization is trying to solve. It can also be used to engage clients of nonprofit organizations in the social capital-building process by getting them involved in the perceptions of people they wouldn’t ordinarily connect with.

Many of the demands of a community are outside the scope of a single government agency’s capabilities, mandate, or duty. Local government is well-positioned to use community opinion to affect outcomes because it is the level of government closest to the people. Structured advocacy provides your community with a non-political, strategic, and fact-based platform for advocacy. Advocacy best practices begin with a specific and fact-based ‘ask.’ When a request is made in the name of the entire community, it has the greatest impact.

Goals

In terms of assistance in the quest for justice for juvenile delinquency, the utilization of community engagement as a possible advocacy activity will almost certainly serve three key reasons. Through engagement in the decision-making process, communities can contribute to enhanced decision-making. Two critical aspects of community development are relationship development, which entails establishing new relationships and/or enhancing existing ones with or within the capacity building, and communities, which develops on community strengths to enable communities and individuals to exert greater influence over their social, physical, natural, economic, and cultural environments. Through the use of community engagement initiatives, it is possible to assist young people in the community who are involved in delinquency.

Actions

To first make community engagement more worthwhile in finding solutions to injustices in juvenile delinquency is the setting up of meetings. In a community, the most probable approach to finding solutions is to set up meetings to get the opinions of all community members. Community engagement is not a one-way approach as every party must be communicated to and respond equally to complete the engagement (Kethineni, et al., 2021). Through communication, as a community solutions can be discussed and remedies obtain that will help the children avoid such injustices.

Through such community engagement meetings, children, the elderly, and the adults become part of forming rules, laws, and cultural practices that can be used in helping a delinquent child from the arms of injustice (Esthappan et. Al., 2020). Another action is the selecting of community representative to help is setting, passing, and ensuring the right policies are set based on best practices and with the most benefit to the community. With the right policies, it becomes possible as a first step in preventing more children from juvenile delinquency.

Follow up plans

It is advocated that the worst pain is that which one is judged for what they don’t understand or are not liable to. Juvenile delinquency makes certain that one is judged for crimes that would be considered for adults and not children. Follow-up plans for injustices caused by the law will include selecting a law officer from the community, financing the process of seeking justice, and finding ways to help those already in incarceration. This form of community engagement not only provides opinions but also financial and personnel support to find justice for those already suffering the pain of juvenile delinquency.

Effectiveness

Juvenile delinquency and the criminalization of minors are mostly prevented by communities. Government leadership and state backing can successfully transform local conditions to assist adolescents in becoming law-abiding, productive citizens. We all have a role in making sure that children are safe and healthy. Anyone can benefit from the power of a collaborative effort when everyone in the group works together toward a similar objective.

Although the effectiveness of community-building efforts has yet to be proven, numerous intriguing solutions have been identified (Fagan, et al, 2018). There are numerous advantages to a comprehensive approach to eliminating violence and criminality in the community. Because it focuses on community standards, beliefs, and policies in addition to environmental factors that put children at risk for teenage difficulties, it has an impact on the entire social environment. This allows everyone in the community to use their knowledge where it is needed most. To achieve a shared aim of reducing youth violence and delinquency, community mobilization can involve everyone in the local community in the effort. Communities can benefit from federal and state assistance by learning how to make the most of available financial and human resources.

It can be helpful to have a group of sectors from both the public and private sectors working together to develop a plan for the future of the community. While the criminal justice as well as juvenile justice systems (Zamano, 2018); other service systems, such as health and mental health; child welfare; education; and assisted housing providers; business; and religious institutions are all involved in a comprehensive approach to reducing incarceration rates, these groups also build support for a comprehensive approach that draws on all segments of the community for participation.

Reference

Esthappan, S., Lacoe, J., Zweig, J. M., & Young, D. W. (2020). Transforming practice through culture change: Probation staff perspectives on juvenile justice reform. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice18(3), 274-293.

Fagan, A. A., Hawkins, J. D., & Catalano, R. F. (2018). Communities that care: Building community engagement and capacity to prevent youth behavior problems. Oxford University Press, USA.

Kethineni, S., Frazier-Kouassi, S., Shigemoto, Y., Jennings, W., Cardwell, S. M., Piquero, A. R., … & Sundaravadivelu, D. (2021). PROTOCOL: Effectiveness of parent-engagement programs to reduce truancy and juvenile delinquency: A systematic review. Campbell Systematic Reviews17(3), e1189.

Zamano, A. (2018). Risks And Intervention Programs For Juvenile Delinquency: Focus On School Engagement, Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Gender, And Family Transitions (Doctoral dissertation, California State University–Los Angeles).