As executive director of the Mental Health Association in Tulsa, it is the purpose of this blog to address various and sundry mental health related topics, and invite others to join me in the conversation. It will be fun, challenging, frustrating, stimulating, and, at times, controversial. Hopefully, it will always be contributed to in a spirit of respect allowing people space to "agree to disagree."
Today's post from me is about the need to transform the way young adults are prepared to transition from state custody, either child welfare or juvenile justice. Currently, forget it. The "system" is totally failing these young adults in the absence of planning for their inevitable release from state custody. When will we stop and look at how these young people are prepared for transition to the adult world and the rights of adults while they are in state's custody? When we will begin to examine the comparison between how these young adults have been prepared for release, and how "normal" kids at home in their own families are prepared. What are the differences between these two sets of "systems," the one at our homes and the one in a state institution, a foster home, an inpatient psychiatric hospital? I'll give you one, and let's start the conversation.
The conversation in our homes about life after home starts around the age of 13, 14, or 15. If you grow up in the child welfare system, or the juvenile justice system, the conversation starts a few months, if not less, before "release." That is ONE, and there are many. Your turn. Let's put the list of comparisons together. Talk amongst yourselves.