Law Enforcement

Adolescent Brain Development: The Child Welfare – Education Intersection

Adolescent Brain Development: The Child Welfare – Education Intersection

In the past couple of years, we have begun to learn more about adolescent brain development. In conversations with professionals across many disciplines (law, education, mental health, etc.), the topic of adolescent brain development has arisen with increasing regularity. While I have encountered a few individuals who have expressed to me that I am simply making excuses for bad behavior (and I admittedly tend to stick up for teenagers; I am a defense attorney after all), as the research results

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Laquan McDonald and Police Brutality: Why Dependency and Delinquency Attorneys Must Care About Racial and Social Justice

Laquan McDonald and Police Brutality: Why Dependency and Delinquency Attorneys Must Care About Racial and Social Justice

You know by now that 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was gunned down by a Chicago Police Officer in October, 2014. Just another police shooting of an African American youth in Chicago and Cook County, it’s reasonable for you to think. Excessive force – if the euphemism can be permitted in this case – is an issue of social justice, and here, racial justice. But if you work in dependency and delinquency courts, you have your own mountains to climb, your own

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“We’re Better Than This”: The Prison Kids Documentary and Juvenile Detention

“We’re Better Than This”: The Prison Kids Documentary and Juvenile Detention

Working with court-involved kids and families is difficult but also maddeningly complex. It’s therefore tough to convey what we see and why we think they way we do about reform. We can’t turn to a friend or a neighbor and readily share a simple sound bite that tells the story. A documentary can communicate what we often can’t, and there’s an especially good one on juvenile justice out there right now: Prison Kids: A Crime Against America’s Children (click here

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A Girl in Foster Care and #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh

A Girl in Foster Care and #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh

This is one of those where if you haven’t seen the video, you should. It’s just a few seconds, and whatever the 16-year-old girl at Spring Valley High School said or did, it can’t justify what comes next. A beefy police officer with a history of excessive force complaints, who moonlights as a football defensive line coach, yanks her from her desk and hurls her across the floor, the way a well-coached defensive end treats a 220-pound NFL quarterback. Only

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Black Lives Matter, Children’s Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter, Children’s Lives Matter

Don’t know about you, but when I check into a hotel room and start unpacking, I turn on the local TV news. When I drive a rental car, I find the local news station, and breakfast on the road in a local diner is always better with the local, daily paper in hand. Being in a different place with real people who lead different lives makes me optimistic; surely the folks in these parts are finding a better way to

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