Cluster. That is what the juvenile court calls the gathering of all the county agencies that deal with children. Imagine going into a room of strangers – twelve strangers – who work for various county agencies. They are gathered to decide what is going to happen to your daughter after her first domestic violence charge.

They look at you like you are an alien creature – this is not a friendly crowd. There is some chatter, then one looks at you and says, “I don’t understand why this girl just can’t go home.”

I thought before I spoke. They had all seen the reports and they had the files in front of them – I was surprised by this comment. Because it was winter, I was wearing a jacket and long-sleeved shirt. I slipped off my jacket and pushed up my sleeves. My arms were covered with deep scabbed-over scratches. I heard some gasps; then I spoke. “Because she is going to kill me.”

A stay (30 days) at a local behavioral facility was arranged/ordered by the court.

This was the first of several stays at various facilities. There will be posts about them all, but I want to make two points here; (1) I feel she received good care at each of the facilities and I am very grateful she received help, (2) She would not have been admitted to any of them without children’s services and juvenile court involvement.

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