Keeping Kids Out of Court: Rethinking Our Response to Status Offenses
Published Oct 8, 2014, Status Offense Reform Center
Status offenses are behaviors that are problematic but non-criminal in nature —such as running away from home, skipping school, or violating curfew—which are prohibited under the law only because of an individual’s status as a minor. Thousands of kids are funneled into the court system every year on status offense charges, an approach that is increasingly proving to be inefficient, expensive, and ineffective in addressing the underlying causes of these behaviors. This brief describes the scope of this problem, highlights states that are rethinking the current approach, and provides recommendations for better supporting youth and families who are struggling with status offenses outside of the juvenile justice system.