SULLIVAN COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – Nearly 100,000 young people are held in juvenile detention in the United States according to the Justice Policy Institute.
The Hendry family knows the impacts of having a son in a facility for troubled teens.
“It all started when he was 15-years-old and when he was 16-years-old it got bad,” said Marie Hendry.
Hendry’s oldest son couldn’t stay out of trouble with the law. He was ordered by the court to go to juvenile detention.
That’s where he spent 75 days, but that number is nowhere near the bill his family was hit with after.
The family found out they were responsible for paying $10,125 for his 75 days in juvenile detention.
“As a child, they get all the rights and as a parent, you have no rights, you’re just going along for the ride so whatever the courts do and same you have to abide by it,” said Hendry.
According to State Representative Clyde Kersey, Indiana was responsible for paying juvenile detention bills in the past.
But as the state’s budget got tighter, they put the responsibility on each county. The Hendry family lives in one of many counties that have shifted the bills strictly to the parents.
Each county in Indiana has different guidelines for whether the parents or the county is responsible for paying detention fees. Currently, it costs $135 a day at a juvenile detention facility.
“When this fine was imposed on us I was so angry. I was angry at my son, I was mainly angry at my son,” said Hendry. “I just thought, how can I turn this into a positive in my life because if not it’s going to kill me.”
Now, this mother is advocating for parents in her same situation. She’s working with Indiana Representative Bruce Borders to create some level of protection, such as a cap on the maximum amount parents have to pay for their troubled teens.
“It may not take my fine away but maybe it will help somebody else out in the future,” said Hendry.
Fighting for parents’ protection now so others don’t have to pay the price.