This article was originally published on Public Health’s Zero Youth Detention Blog. Zero Youth Detention (ZYD) is a shared effort and vision to reduce the use of secure detention for youth here in King County and launch the county on the journey to eliminate it.
Youth deserve the chance to grow and develop into happy and healthy adults. Research has shown that youth who do not have interactions with the juvenile legal system have a greater chance of developing positively into adulthood. ZYD is an initiative of Public Health – Seattle & King County that pursues partnerships with youth, families, and community members to build on their strengths, giving our youth opportunities to be happy, healthy, safe, and thriving. The goal is to create safe and flourishing communities where legal system involvement is at a minimum and eventually non-existent.
As discussed in a ZYD Blog earlier this year, there is a definite connection between the commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) of children and the juvenile justice system. Although exact numbers don’t currently exist, studies show that most victims of commercial sexual exploitation of children in King County have also been involved in the legal system.
The same systemic issues, racial inequity, and income inequality that make youth vulnerable to becoming involved in the legal system also make youth targets for perpetrators of CSE. It is imperative that children and young adults are…Continue Reading