HOME SWEET HOME? NOT IF YOUR TEENAGER IS OUT OF CONTROL
Is your teenager out of control at home, running away, into sex and drugs, or battering you or your spouse? If so, you have lost control of your minor. They are running the show and you need to re-establish your parental and household authority. If you have tried counseling and/or significant parental and family intervention unsuccessfully, the next best thing is to seek the assistance of Juvenile Probation and the Juvenile Court.
If your minor batters you, call the police and insist they be arrested and taken to Juvenile Hall. Battery is the non-consensual touching of another without permission of the person. If your minor slaps you, pushes you, throws the phone and it hits you, threatens you with a knife or other weapon, restrains you, takes your car, or steals from you, they are committing a crime. When physical violence or domestic violence is involved, the police are most likely to intervene. If the police will not arrest your child, insist charges be requested from the Juvenile District Attorney’s office. Call the Juvenile Probation office in your area and insist on a petition being filed. I can guarantee you your child will not like being in Juvenile Hall. Once they have been there long enough, you will hear a different tune from them. They eventually will be saying they will change and behave. Talk is cheap. All the kids say they will reform. If allowed, some will revert to their old ways. Let your minor know in no uncertain terms all probation violations will be reported to the probation officer. The goal is regaining control of your house and of your minor. If it has gotten this bad at home, you will not be able to do it on your own without the assistance of Juvenile Probation and the Juvenile Court. You don’t want to risk getting too personally involved with discipline and being accused of excessive discipline which could result in police and court involvement for your actions.
I don’t want my child to have an arrest or a juvenile record? Of course you do not. However, your child is beyond control and needs intervention and help now. You may not be able to do it yourselves and your best bet is to get them the help they need while they are still minors and can be handled in the juvenile system. Once they are 18 and they get into further trouble, they will be tried as adults and will have arrest and criminal records for life. The adult court system is focused strictly on punishment while the juvenile court’s mission is to rehabilitate and punish. The emphasis is on rehabilitation.
In the juvenile court you, as the parent, are responsible for support costs, attorney and investigator fees, restitution and fines, and psychological services rendered for your child. Depending on how long your child is incarcerated or detained out of the home, the costs can amount to thousands of dollars. However, if the court finds the father, mother, spouse or other person liable for the support of the child is the victim of the crime, the court can make what is called and Welfare and Institutions Code Section 903(e) finding. This means you are not liable for these costs. It is critical that your attorney requests this finding from the court.
The Individual Education Plan (IEP) is also an additional way to try and get assistance for your beyond control child. The schools can provide services, counseling, tutoring, non-public schools, and residential programs. Request in writing with your school for an IEP evaluation for your minor. The IEP process will be the subject of a future blog.