They’ll keep me detained until the next court date,
but I’m gonna be the child they want me to be.

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I’m from the high desert, Antelope Valley. I’m in the sixth grade. I’ve been here four days. This is my second time here. I was being stupid. I live with my grandma and my grandpa and brother and sister. She’s a teacher and he works at Lockheed. I think I get to go home in two weeks. My mom lives in Texas. I haven’t seen her since I was 3. I don’t know where my real dad is. I’ve been here 16 days total. They’ll keep me detained until the next court date, but I’m gonna be the child they want me to be. Ain’t no way I’m coming back here.

-E.L., Age 13

**Interviews with youth are recorded to the best of our ability. All personal histories and anecdotes are self-reported by the children. To protect confidentiality of the youth, identities have been obscured, initials have been changed, and identifying details have been removed. Interviews have not been edited for content.

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