Sunday, December 5, 2021


A new report shows, despite getting billions under the American Rescue Plan, many airlines continue to disrupt travelers' plans with cancellations, and Congress averts a government shutdown for now.


U.S. House passes a stopgap government funding bill; the Omicron variant is found in Minnesota; Biden administration revives the "Remain in Mexico" policy; and the Bidens light the National Christmas Tree.


Seniors in non-urban areas struggle with hunger disproportionately; rural communities make a push for federal money; and Planned Parenthood takes a case to the Montana Supreme Court.

Should Kids 12 and Under Be Brought Before a Judge?


Monday, March 1, 2021   

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Kentucky kids as young as five or six can legally end up in juvenile court because the state currently lacks a minimum age threshold, but new legislation would ban kids 12 and younger from being tried before a judge and prioritize community-based, age-appropriate solutions.

More than 2,000 children younger than 10 were arrested in 2019 nationwide, according to data from the National Juvenile Justice Network.

In states without minimum age thresholds, elementary school-age kids have been arrested for throwing temper tantrums, throwing a ball at another child's face, and refusing to go to the principal's office.

Cortney Downs, policy and advocacy director for Kentucky Youth Advocates, said the statistics are disturbing, given the science shows kids should not be treated like adults.

She noted the latest data revealed hundreds of complaints against kids in the Commonwealth.

"And so, in 2019, there were actually 691 complaints that were filed against 12-year-olds," Downs observed. "Anyone can file a complaint against a child, for any reason."

Downs pointed out of those cases only around 1% were serious offenses that went to court. She added despite making up only 11% of the population of 12-year-olds in the state, Black youths are disproportionately affected, making up 20% of the complaints.

Rachel Bingham, executive officer for family and juvenile services at the Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts, said the state is already adopting a case-management approach with the goal of better outcomes for both kids and families.

"For this particular age group, our goal is to get them resources," Bingham explained. "To get the family resources, to get the family connected to supports that they need, and to be able to identify any types of things that are barriers for them."

Downs argued kids need age-appropriate interventions that address the root causes of a child's behavior, not criminal punishment. She clarified while the brain's reward system develops early in adolescence, cognitive control isn't cemented until early adulthood.

"We know that kids who are 10 to 13 are much less likely to think before they act," Downs contended. "They want immediate reward, and that's just how the brain is wired."

Research has shown locking young children up can derail academic performance and disrupt cognitive and emotional development. Detention also increases a child's chances of having future encounters with the juvenile justice system.

Disclosure: Kentucky Youth Advocates/KIDS COUNT contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Children's Issues, and Youth Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
The 2021 Nevada Children's Health Report from the Children's Advocacy Alliance found that only 56 percent of uninsured kids receive regular medical attention. (Rawpixel/Adobestock)

Social Issues

Indigenous people in Peru demonstrate against oil drilling in 2013. (Amazon Watch)


LOS ANGELES -- California-based facilities are refining half of all the oil drilled in the Amazon rain forests, according to a new report by the …


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- People who live on the Navajo Nation near the San Juan Basin are closely following work by the Environmental Protection Agency (…

Social Issues

PHOENIX -- A new report shows, despite getting billions of dollars from the federal government under the American Rescue Plan, many airlines continue …

From left, Andrea Comer, committee chairwoman, Connecticut Social Equity Council, and Carlton Highsmith, Joseph Carbone and Fred McKinney announce the Alliance for Cannabis Equity on Tuesday in Hamden, Conn. (The Narrative Project)

Social Issues

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Connecticut is among several states working on what its new recreational marijuana industry will look like, and a new coalition …

Social Issues

PRAIRIE DU SAC, Wis. -- Broadband gaps affect many facets of life, including education. The new federal infrastructure plan includes money to expand …

Hastings-on-Hudson is currently the highest-ranking town in New York State's Climate Smart Communities program. (Adobe Stock)


HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- One of the major takeaways from last month's big climate conference in Scotland is, all levels of government need to …

Social Issues

ALBANY, N.Y. -- New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) has released a new report this week, with recommendations from educators about how best to …

Social Issues

BALTIMORE, Md. -- Maryland civil rights groups are proposing a lawsuit against Baltimore County if it adopts its current redistricting plan, claiming …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021