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Friday, January 7, 2011

A Second Chance at Success

I had a very serious case today in juvenile court. I have been working with this juvenile for almost two years now. This case has been challenging, gut wrenching and emotional at times. This morning there was an editorial in the Charlotte Observer called A Nation of Second Chances. It seemed appropriate in my case-
The most effective responses are also the most daunting. Crime prevention, in the long run, is youth development. The alternative to cultivating the next generation is fearing it. Children, as one would expect, do better in life when they have not been poisoned by lead paint, abandoned by parents or betrayed by failed schools. There is promise in encouraging preschool attendance, providing mentors for the fatherless, demanding competent teachers, rewarding high school completion and making street gangs less attractive. 
Turning back to my case today, ultimately, it will be up to this young person to decide what changes he/she will make in his or her life. However, this juvenile is finally in an environment where the opportunity to succeed exists. A support system finally exists. I saw an authentic smile on his/her face at the conclusion of the hearing today.  By no means is this young individual on a road to success yet. There is a lot of work to do. The team that works with this juvenile can provide as many services as they see fit, but ultimately the decision to succeed is in the hands of juvenile. Given the deck of cards that most juvenile offenders are given, that is a daunting task for most.

I was happy with the result today. An opportunity for success exists for this young adult. I am thankful that this young person is in the juvenile system and not in the adult court system. Now we will see what the future holds for this youngster. I'm glad he/she was given this opportunity. A second chance at success.


posted by Carilyn Ibsen at


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