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 Adolescent Girls

Traditionally, the juvenile justice system has been predominantly male. However, CCA has seen the number of girls referred to our programs more than double in recent years – from 10% to almost 25%. Among the unique issues confronting these young women are incest, victimization, and their experiences as witnesses to violence. These issues in turn contribute to depression, suicidal ideation, sexual acting out, eating disorders and risky sexual behavior. To address the needs and interests of girls we have developed gender-specific services focusing on topics and projects that specifically relate to the issues in their lives.

CCA offers young women opportunities to develop as peer leaders, to express themselves creatively, to gain critical health and HIV/AIDS prevention information and a safe place to share their issues and challenges. These activities include: training, support groups, field trips to cultural events that stimulate their imaginations and productions of youth written and performed skits, recordings of their poetry and songs. Young women also join CCA staff to educate community members, political leaders and policy makers about juvenile justice issues, particularly as they affect girls.

One 15 year old girl described her experience in CCA programs, "I really did change. We learned how to carry ourselves in a 'mannerable' way. We were all rough and tough. They taught us how to stay safe and productive." (Click here to read CCA's recent research study on its Young Women's CHOICES program in NYC )