Dual Custody

Stories from Dependency/detention and diminished capacity

I live near XXXX City College. I live with my mom, two sisters, and a newborn, and my stepdad. I have an older brother, but he’s out of the house. I was taken away by social workers. My mom told them that I hit her, but I really just ran away with my girlfriend. I wasn’t going to school. I was living in the street at friends’ houses with my girlfriend. I guess I was couch surfing. Yeah, I guess I was homeless. My mom came to see me today, with my girlfriend. She’s still with me. She told me today that she’s pregnant. I’m in 11th grade. I can barely take care of myself. I got a grand theft charge. The judge sent me to placement rehab, Phoenix House. Mostly alcohol and weed and meth. My girlfriend would keep me on the right path. When I was on the outs, I wouldn’t eat or sleep because of all the drugs. In here, I’m always sleeping to catch up on lost sleep and I’m always hungry. ‘Cause now that I’m not on drugs I’m hungry. I hope they give me probation. I think I’m going to go to a placement called the XXXX. I was interviewed on Friday, and I’m just waiting for them to pick me up. I have to do nine months. If I go AWOL, I’ll hit XXXX. I’ve been here for two weeks for the same charge. The grand theft was I snatched a phone from an open car. They caught me sitting in the car and they tried to catch me for GTA. They tried to put those charges on me.
— J.N. Age 17
Been in XXXX for a week. This is my first time here. My home jail is XXXX. They got me housed here for medical reasons. I was born in XXXX, but my mom is living in XXXX. She’s at a rehab called XXXX for Families. She came back from XXXX to get us out. She wanted to get her kids back, but I don’t want to go back with her. I’m gonna go to transitional when I’m 17 and a half. I got a court date on Tuesday. I can go to XXXX or a group home like XXXX or XXXX. I ran away a lot. It’s not safe for me in a group home. I run in my mentor and took me to XXXX to a group home. Her name is XXXX. It’s a group home that helps young ladies get off the street. I recently was sex trafficking. I first heard about prostitution when I was 10. I saw prostitutes when I was in a foster home and then when I ran away I started doing it to survive, eat, rent out rooms. I wanted all the stuff teenagers want: phone, clothes. I came to XXXX when I was two. I have six brothers and sisters. We live in XXXX. Five of the kids were taken away from my mom. She just visited me and XXXX an hour ago. Every kid is in different areas, different homes. But XXXX’s twin is living with XXXX, my foster mom and me. XXXX is still our leading guardian, but I don’t want to go back to XXXX or my biological mom. I was at XXXX for a week. I knew the staff and I made some comment like “there’s miss saggy titties.” And she said “at least I don’t have a yeast infection and my throat’s not deep.” She was saying I was prostituting, but I wasn’t then. I tried to keep a straight program, but I started AWOLing to see my boyfriend. And then I would start working in the valley on XXXX. My boyfriend knew about it. He was all right with it. I was basically poor and had no money. I got picked up, went to jail for almost a month, went to XXXX again for a month. I AWOLed form a program called XXXX and went to XXXX to see him.
— N.G. Age 16
This is the first time, the only time, and the last time I’m here. I’m in the seventh grade. The first time I was in XX on Friday. Friday, I was fighting in school with XXX. And here it is, two days later, and I’m in XXXX. I live with my foster mom and her husband. It’s me, my brother, and two foster babies. This is the second foster home I’m in. They said I could stay at the first foster home until I was 18, but I wanted to be with my big brother. My mom does drugs. And then they found out I wasn’t going to school when I was around 10. The next-door neighbor said my mom wasn’t treating me right. She was smoking cigarettes and weed, no coke or crack or anything serious. And she never did anything to harm us. I know that she loved us. She was trying her best to give me food and clothing and she wouldn’t eat unless we ate first. There were days she wouldn’t eat at all so that we would have food. When I ran away from my foster home, I ran home to see how she was doing. But then they started calling me a run away. And my PO said I was a flight risk, but I said I’m only going to my mom’s. But that’s not allowed. I can’t survive here a week or a month. I think about all the pain I’m putting people through. If only I can take it all back.
— L.T. Age 14
I’m in dependency and delinquency. Delinquency is in the lead right now. I have a probation officer and a social worker. They don’t really talk to each other. I was born at XXX Hospital. You can see it from here. I was born in the Sheriff’s part. My mother was in custody. She had warrants out for her arrest. She’s in rehab now. I don’t know my dad. I have stories and what may not be a valid address. I went with my grandmother growing up. I went on and off with my mother who was a drug addict and with my grandmother who abused me physically. She threw knives at me. She locked me in my room for four or five days at a time and would lock me in my room. She gave me a bucket and I would have to defecate in it. I pretty much raised myself. I like just being by myself. I have no self-pity. What happened, it happened. I can’t change it. The past is the past, but I can be successful in the future. My mother is off in rehab as we speak. She continues to struggle. I pray for her every night. I was out of my grandma’s custody when I was six or seven. I went to foster homes. I think I was in 13 different foster homes and six different group homes. That was over seven years. There was never any man in my life, except the men that came back with her for an hour or a night or two. It’s been a struggle. I ran away because I couldn’t handle my mother. I knew it would fall apart. When I was 13, I started being in XXXX, selling drugs, some real weight, pimping. Then I started hitting houses in XXXX. They charged me with criminal threats, assault with a deadly weapon, assault with intent to do great bodily harm, and a minor in possession of a deadly weapon. I’ve been here a year and a half. I just plead guilty last week. I think I’m gonna be sentenced in two days to juvie charges. I feel like doors have been opened. If I do good, things can be expunged, except for the assault with great bodily injury.
— A.R. Age 16
I’m a dual custody kid [in both the detention and dependency systems]. My mom was on drugs. Meth. At age 15 a social worker popped up at my house one day. It was as simple as that—I was in the system. I had run away. They found out I was trying to kill myself. The cops picked me up and put me in handcuffs. After I got kicked out of foster homes they put me in a psychiatric facility. There were 7 other transgender kids there. I AWOLed. Then I was locked up in the SHU [Special Handling Unit] at two different detention facilities. Now I’m stepped up to here. I think I am dual because I ran away and some other stuff. Sleeping on the streets. I never touched anyone or hurt anyone.
— L.T. Age 16