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Debtors' Prison For Kids?

Approximately one million youth appear in juvenile courts each year.  In every state, youth and families can be required to pay juvenile court costs, fees, fines, or restitution. The costs for court related services, including probation, a “free appointed attorney,” mental health evaluations, the costs of incarceration, treatment, or restitution payments, can push poor children deeper into the system and families deeper into debt. Youth who can’t afford to pay for their freedom often face serious consequences, including incarceration, extended probation, or denial of treatment—they are unfairly penalized for being poor. Many families either go into debt trying to pay these costs or forego basic necessities like groceries to keep up with payments.