The Children’s Bureau Standard proposes the court should be required to find out either that the child cannot receive in his own home the care, supervision, or guidance needed, or that his removal is necessary for the protection of the community.15 Depending on each state law, the need for institutionalization and the duration of confinement are based on a limited or indeterminate period. In Connecticut (If tried as a juvenile), delinquent children are committed for an indeterminate period not to exceed two years, but subject to an extension.16 When intervening in the parent-child relationship, the intervention process is based on three stages of decision; invocation, adjudication, and disposition.17 During the invocation stage,the child’s circumstances are investigated and determined whether a court order is required. The second stage of adjudication is to question the parental autonomy and allow the parent the opportunity to defend the accusations. The final stage is the disposition, this stage is based on the outcome of the investigation and where to place the child (most often back with the parent). Grounds for state intervention is based on gross failures of parental care as when implications of convicted, or acquittal by reason of insanity, or sexual offense against one’s child, or incompetency of caretaker is evident.18 Status Offenders are subjected to this process because of the nature of their court order, which most often relates to poor parental control.
The Parens Patriae is the power of the state to act in behalf of the child and provide care, and protection equivalent to that of a parent. Literally, it empowers the state to be the father of the child.19 To incarcerate children to control them misrepresents what “fatherhood” is all about. The common denominator is control, however, love, and nurturing are the missing factors. To deemed it necessary for the state to control so many children, leaves me to conclude, “We don’t have a youth crisis, we have a parenting crisis!”
Under the 1976 law, the Welfare & Institutions Codes # 600, 601, and 602, cover the three different types of juvenile clientele who penetrate through the Juvenile Justice System daily.20 Type code 601 covers the handling of the status offenders and have been of overwhelming interest and concern in the study of delinquency. Immoral lives and disobedience prior to attending court do not improve after court intervention. In most cases, behaviors get worse.