We know that all teenagers take risks and make mistakes. And what we’ve instinctively known to be true is now proven by research: the teenage brain is wired differently. Passion, creativity, impulsiveness, questioning authority, and susceptibility to peer influence are all part of a normally developing teen brain.
We also know that children are growing up in environments that are stressed by poverty, discrimination, and racism. This makes them feel isolated and marginalized, whether at home, in school, or in their community. These factors impact healthy brain development and behavior, and snap decisions can put them in conflict with the law.
No one should be defined by their worst mistake. TeamChild will stand with youth at their lowest moments ensuring that justice isn’t out of reach for young people and their families.
We believe that exclusion and incarceration don’t work. Less money spent on incarceration and punishment allows us to invest in resources that actually help kids that come in conflict with the law, while also helping make our neighborhoods safe and our economy thrive.
Punitive “solutions” often exacerbate the challenges youth face and fail to hold agencies accountable for the role they play in contributing to these problems. Punishment frequently has less to do with fairness and more to do with where you live, the color of your skin, how much money you have, and who is or isn’t around to help you. We envision a world where all young people have power and experience unconditional belonging at school, at home and in their communities.