UNM program identifies risk factors that leads to youth getting in trouble | KOB 4

UNM program identifies risk factors that leads to youth getting in trouble

Joy Wang
Updated: August 21, 2020 10:28 PM
Created: August 21, 2020 08:35 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Dr. Andrew Hsi created the UNM Adobe program to help formerly incarcerated youth stay out of the judicial system, and he's done a lot of research on how they ended up there in the first place.

He believes there are 10 factors that contribute to kids getting in trouble:

"So adverse experience are a set of things happen in the lives of kids, three happened to the kid- physical abuse, emotional and physical neglect and sexual abuse of minors," he said. "Those three are huge. And then their environments in the family home of parents with substance use disorder, untreated mental illness, a parent where who's experienced violence in the home, directed by a partner, parent who's incarcerated loss of a parent, like the parent walks out of the kid's life. And some people include unfriendly divorce and separation as another adverse experience."

Hsi said, in New Mexico, 60% of people have at least one of those experiences. He said about 1/6 have four or more of them.

Juveniles in detention in New Mexico typically have at least five adverse experiences per kid.

"A pretty big percentage of them, and more females and males have all nine of nine out of 10 adverse experiences before they enter imprisonment," Hsi said.

Hsi said systemic racism is an issue that plays out in the lives of kids. He adds that it's not that the experiences don't happen across all races, but depending on how much money a person has or what they look, the results can be very different.

"People who have less economic resources have much less access to the kinds of supports they need to resolve them," Hsi said. "So getting access to mental health care, getting access to substance use treatment, access to early intervention services for kids who have developmental delays, access in schools to address learning needs."

While it may sound like socioeconomics, Hsi said race plays role as well.

"For example, only 3% of African Americans receive loans from major banks in the United States even though the demand for access to lending to buy a house, start a business is much higher," Hsi said. "And so that continues to this day. Socio-economic status is defined by whether people have access to capital, to be able to borrow money to live in places where schools are better."

So what needs to happen?

Hsi said access to resources like better education and healthcare is one way.

He also said leaders need to address how systems benefits people differently-- and change it.

"In Albuquerque, for the 30 for the 40 years I've lived here, the same schools that have had problems with graduation rates for kids making progress, have been the same schools," Hsi said. "There has not been an effort to put the resources in a place that would allow kids living in more stressed neighborhoods to do better, to even out the educational outcome."

Hsi said 96% of kids incarcerated in New Mexico's state system have a major mental health problem and 100% of them have a substance abuse disorder.

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