Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Where is the Hope?

Miguel’s mother is addicted to drugs, and so his early life contained serious abuse and neglect. His grandmother took him in for a while, but health problems got in the way of her being able to raise him. He came to Connecticut to get treatment for his increasingly aggressive and risky behavior, and to live with his aunt and uncle afterwards. But he has continued to disobey their rules, and they just told him they will not be able to take him. Several other uncles are in jail, and there are no other family members willing to be resources for Miguel. Now he has no plan, and even his uncle’s visits with him are becoming rare. He ran away this weekend, and engaged in very risky behavior.

So what do we do, what do we say? How can Miguel begin to feel that there is any possibility of creating a better life?

It is clear that contrary to our impulses, we need to keep him nearer than ever to adults. If we isolate him as punishment, his despair and estrangement will be more complete. We can try to create responses to his run-away which give him some sense of connection and achievement- for example, community service that involves helping the younger kids program. We can work on getting him a mentor.

Yet I am still left wondering- for Miguel, where is the hope?

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