What’s more, helping people like Presley deal with the damage of child removal remains central to abolitionist efforts. Brian Stanley, a court advocate at Avenues for Justice, one of the first alternative-to-incarceration programs in the United States, routinely works with youth aged thirteen to twenty-four when they return home from detention or foster care.
“They have tremendous trust issues,” he said. “There is often a lot of boundary testing and issues of abandonment that we have to work through. Initially, most returnees will push me away, but I am persistent and try to be steady and let them know that I’m here. I recognize their vulnerability. I get to know their families, and can meet them on a park bench if that’s what they need. My phone does not get turned off at 5 p.m.”