Source: (2012) New York Law School Law Review V.56 1476-1500

A young woman, Anna, fifteen years old, stands in the courtroom in front of a New York City Family Court judge.' She had been arrested two months earlier for resisting arrest and obstruction of governmental administration because she had run from truancy officers who stopped her on the street during school hours.2 Although this arrest was part of a recent pattern of poor school attendance, declining grades, and increasingly confrontational behavior that had led to significant family conflict, Anna had no prior history of involvement in the juvenile justice or child welfare systems, and she lived at home with her parents and siblings. At her arraignment, the judge decided not to send her to a detention facility, but referred her instead to an alternative-to-detention program (ATD). Such programs are designed to help young people meet their obligations to the court and get back on track in school while addressing some of the underlying issues leading to misbehavior. Unfortunately, despite a promising start in the ATD, Anna has not been doing well. She has built up a growing record of school absences, curfew violations, and program violations at the ATD and was once again stopped by truancy officers. Conflict in her home over this behavior escalated to the point where Anna's parents reached out to the Office of Corporation Counsel, and the case was advanced on the court calendar to address Anna's noncompliance. Anna and her parents are back in court today, awaiting the judge's decision.