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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 68788 Find in a Library
Title: CHILD IN NEED OF SERVICES IN MASSACHUSETTS - DOES THE NEW SYSTEM WORK?
Journal: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF OFFENDER THERAPY AND COMPARATIVE CRIMINOLOGY  Volume:23  Issue:3  Dated:(1979)  Pages:235-239
Author(s): M GUBERMAN
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 5
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: THE CHINS (CHILD IN NEED OF SERVICES) LAW IS A MISNOMER, AS IT SUGGESTS WRONGLY THAT CHILDREN ARE GOING TO RECEIVE SERVICES WHICH WILL BRING THEM INTO LINE WITH THE GOALS OF THEIR FAMILIES OR SCHOOLS.
Abstract: THE CHINS LAW WAS ENACTED IN MASSACHUSETTS IN 1973, SUPERSEDING THE DELINQUENCY COMPLAINTS OF STUBBORN CHILD, RUNAWAY, AND TRUANT. THE AIM WAS TO DECRIMINALIZE THE PROCEEDINGS. COMMITMENT TO THE YOUTH SERVICE BOARD OR TO COUNTY TRAINING SCHOOLS WERE STOPPED. THE LAW FURTHER PROVIDED FOR ASSISTANCE TO THE FAMILY WITH THE CONSENT AND COOPERATION OF ALL PARTIES. YET THE ELIMINATION OF THE YOUTH SERVICES DEPARTMENT AND TRAINING SCHOOLS TOOK WITH IT ALL LEVERAGE. FOR INSTANCE, IF THERE IS NO COOPERATION, THE LAW PROVIDES FOR THE COMMITMENT OF THE CHILD TO THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE AND THROUGH THE DEPARTMENT TO FOSTER HOMES OR GROUP PLACEMENTS. BUT, IF A CHILD LEAVES THE PLACEMENT THE PROBATION OFFICER OR THE COURT CAN DO NOTHING ABOUT IT, AS THERE ARE NO SANCTIONS LEFT TO THE COURTS FOR THESE CHILDREN. THERE IS NO WAY THAT A STREETWISE BOY OR GIRL WILL SUDDENLY CHANGE WAYS BY GOING TO A FOSTER HOME, AN UNREALISTIC EXPECTATION PREVALENT IN THE COMMUNITY. MOREOVER, THE LAW, IN SAFEGUARDING THE CHILD'S RIGHTS THROUGH APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL, THROUGH PROVISION FOR COMMITMENT TO THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE AND NOT TO THE DEPARTMENT OF YOUTH SERVICES, STRENGTHENS THE CHILD'S HAND. IT PREVENTS PARENTAL OR SCHOOL COERCION, VALIDATES THE CHILD'S ALTERNATIVE LIFESTYLE, AND CONFRONTS THE PARENTS AND SCHOOLS WITH THEIR OWN INADEQUACIES. THE PROBATION OFFICERS ARE LEFT WITH THE JOB OF SPELLING OUT THIS CONTRADICTION BETWEEN THE PUBLIC EXPECTATION OF THE LAW AND THE REALITY OF THE LAW. PERHAPS THE FIRST OBJECTIVE OF THE COURTS AND THE PROBATION OFFICERS SHOULD BE TO KEEP THE FAMILY INTACT AND THE CHILD AT HOME. AT THE LEAST THE COURT CAN FORCE ATTENDANCE, CAN COMPEL THE FAMILY TO ATTEND COURT MEETINGS, AND ACT AS A CONCILIATOR CALLING FOR COMPROMISE.
Index Term(s): Deinstitutionalization; Juvenile courts; Juvenile foster homes; Juvenile shelter care; Juvenile status offenders; Massachusetts; Rights of minors; Youth Services Bureau
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=68788

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