AUSTIN--The Crossroads Girls Mental Health Court has won the National Criminal Justice Association Outstanding Criminal Justice Program Award for Western Region.
Time Warner Cable News spoke with two young ladies in the program. Since they are juveniles, their identities are being protected in this story.
"Just being at the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong crowd. And from there just anger, that was bottled up in me,” said program participant 1.
There's a lot of reasons why young girls wind up in court. But thanks to the Crossroads Girls Mental Health Court, they have a chance for a fresh future.
"It is hard work to get through the program. It is not easy to be on supervision,” said 386th District Judge Laura Parker.
Since 2009 the program has transformed the lives of young women all across the region.
"We're not just taking kids who have behavioral problems, there has to be some underlying mental health disorder,” Judge Parker said.
The program is an intensive home-based early intervention opportunity for girls ages 12 to 17. Parker meets with the girls every other week.
"It was easy at first then it just started getting harder as you go through it,” said program participant 2.
"They also have to have a responsible adult willing to participate with them because we found that if we just treat the kid and don't work with the families, the work gets undone when they go back home,” Parker said.
Once both child and family are healed and court completed...the juvenile records are sealed.
"I look back to what I've done and the mistakes I've made and I've learned from them, and I'm never going back. This is my clean slate. They opened up new doors for me,” said participant 1.
The court will receive the national award next month in Philadelphia.