At school, Michelle is at the top of her class academically. However, she has started hanging out with an older group of kids and started experimenting with different drugs and drinking on the weekends. She recently started dating a 19 year old, whom she met through her friend’s brother and is sexually active with him. Although her friends tell her that he is too old for her, she disagrees and says that he loves her. Last weekend, after a night of partying and drinking, her boyfriend took a neighbor’s car for a joyride. He lost control of the car and crashed into a parked car a few blocks away. Luckily Michelle and her boyfriend were not injured, but they were taken into custody by local police. Because she is a minor, Michelle’s case was referred to juvenile court.
What should the juvenile court do?
Michelle Part II
A few weeks ago, her mother’s boyfriend attempted to rape Michelle. She fought back and, in the struggle, he broke her wrist. Her mother’s boyfriend waited until her mother came home to take Michelle to the hospital. While they were waiting for her mother, the boyfriend threatened Michelle that if she told anyone what he did he would hurt her worse next time. Michelle told the hospital nurses that she had been clumsy and tripped on her brother’s toy on her way to the bathroom. The hospital staff became suspicious because her wrist injury was not consistent with a typical fall and made a report with Child Protective Services. CPS has opened an investigation but is having trouble gathering information because Michelle’s mother refuses to cooperate.
What should CPS do?
Michelle Part I
Michelle is a 14 year old girl living in an affluent community in Southern California. Her parents divorced four years ago and she now lives with her mother and 10 year old brother. Although closer to her father, she only gets to see him a couple times a year because he moved to New York after the divorce.
Michelle’s mother is a lawyer and often works long hours. When her mother is at work, Michelle and her brother are looked after by her mother’s boyfriend and are often alone with him. When Michelle turned 13, her mother’s boyfriend began to sexually molest her. Michelle tried to tell her mother that she feels uncomfortable with the boyfriend, but her mother ignored Michelle and accused her of trying to ruin her relationship. The boyfriend continues to molest Michelle on a regular basis. After work, Michelle’s mother usually has several drinks to help her “unwind.” Her mother does not think that she has a drinking problem but, after drinking, she yells at Michelle and her brother, blaming them for “ruining her life.”