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Juvenile Justice Director raises the question: What about the children?


The citizens of Clarksville were treated to a wealth of information at a recent community forum hosted by the Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Task Force. The program was held at the Clarksville – Montgomery County Public Library and included a reception for speakers and guests. Ms. Debrah Stafford, Juvenile Justice Director for the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, opened the forum with a strong power point presentation titled What About the Children?

Every day in America, 540 children are arrested for various crimes, though in many cases there are mitigating situations that cause these children to come in contact with the system. Ms. Stafford suggests that we must not be “in such a hurry” to just lock up a child.

One major finding by juvenile justice professionals is that more attention should be paid to the mental heath of the child. Children in juvenile justice often have mental health and substance abuse problems, have a higher percentage of learning disabilities, have frequent histories of trauma abuse/neglect, violence in the home, and/or have parents with substance abuse problems. «Read the rest of this article»

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