As they grow up, kids are especially prone to making mistakes. However, as soon as one of their mistakes involves law enforcement, they will have a criminal record.
There is a common misconception that a juvenile record will disappear as soon as your child becomes a legal adult. But, much like an adult criminal record, a juvenile delinquency record can lead to a vast array of negative consequences that can follow them long after their case has closed.
In the U.S., 1.5 million youth arrests occur each year. What’s more, is according to the Juvenile Law Center (JLC), an increasing number of states no longer limit access to juvenile records and fail to provide opportunities for sealing or expungement. These records can interfere with a child’s future and close the door to opportunities before their adult life even begins.
Youth with a juvenile record face significant barriers when searching for stable employment. Studies have shown that a criminal record decreases the likelihood of getting an interview by 50%, and even more so for people of color with a record.
In 2011, 90% of employers surveyed reported using background checks on prospective employees, according to JLC. In another survey, 40% of employers said they would definitely or probably not hire a person with a criminal record.
Acceptance into college
A juvenile delinquency record may limit your kid’s access to higher education. Since 2006, The Common Application for College began asking college applicants to disclose their past convictions and adjudications in their applications, according to JLC. Of the 66% of schools that ask about juvenile records, 33% consider misdemeanors negatively, and 22% deny admission based on the offense.
Even if a school does accept your child with a juvenile record, this record may make it harder for them to afford to go to school. Some drug-related offenses can temporarily bar youth offenders from receiving federal financial aid.
A juvenile record can not only impact your child’s ability to find housing in the future but may affect your family’s, as well. If a child has a juvenile delinquency record, their whole family can be denied public housing, or the child may be forced to live elsewhere.
Many youths have their first experience with homelessness after they are released from jail or prison. When paired with the obstacles those with juvenile records face in securing employment, homelessness becomes even more likely.
All children deserve the opportunity to grow past their mistakes, but unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. The stigma of a juvenile record can haunt a child for the rest of their life.