B.H, age 14 (right) and S.H, age 16 (left) at Twin River Cottage, Missouri Hills Facility

 

My commitment charges are fighting, smoking (weed), truancy… but mostly running away. My hair is corn-rowed by myself and my friends.

I come from a loveable and loving family. I had problems differentiating between what I wanted and what I needed. I wanted new shoes, but I had shoes. Most of my time was spent looking at relationships in terms of who is going to fight me and who likes me. I’m good in school here. I get A’s; on the outside I got Fs. I’m in 8th grade and have been here for 9 months. I’m at level four, the highest privilege level.

–B.H. Age 14 (right)

 My t-shirt says “Passport to romance.” I’m here for doing every drug possible as well as alcohol. I just got my GED and I’m going to go to Jeffco (community college) with my mother in January. My mother is my best friend, so is my brother, but I have a difficult relationship with my father. My father is my worst enemy. He hit me. I’m overcoming a lot of abusive relationships with boys. I was sexually molested when I was nine years old. There were issues of disrespect, fighting, and drugs with my family. It’s amazing here. This place gives me a sense of self respect and self value. I never had that before. I want to get a degree in Child psychology and become a youth ministry pastor and get an RN degree. My mother is going back to school to get an RN degree. I’m originally from around Waco, Texas but we relocated to Missouri.

–S.H. Age 16 (left)

Twin River Cottage is a part of the Missouri Hills Program, in Missouri River, Missouri. It is a secure facility for 24 girls. At the time of my visit, there were 19, mostly aged 15-16. The average stay here is nine months. There are Halloween decorations all over, the girls live in a dormitory environment. They are sitting around having a group meeting after dinner. I am told by B.H that the only “bummer” here is how they make you keep things so clean.

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