For Part I, read here.
Many readers were deeply affected by yesterday’s post, which told the story of an 18-year-old special needs young man who had made a choice which sent his life careening in the wrong direction. At the end of that post, Reggie had been arrested and his future was anyone’s guess. Some readers e-mailed me privately asking to keep them apprised of Reggie’s outcome.
I’m relieved to say I can do just that.
All day yesterday, I was cc’d on a plethora of e-mails from various workers associated with Reggie’s case: no one knew where he was. Then, at the end of the day, one worker e-mailed and wrote that she had discovered Reggie’s had been case had been heard at a particular court house and he had been released on his own recognizance that morning.
Meaning: this 18-year-old special needs man was roaming the streets alone, presumably, with no money. How this happens — that no court personnel could pick up a phone and call the group from which Reggie had recently been arrested, but simply send him out to fend for himself — is staggering.
At 6:38 p.m. I had just driven onto the on-ramp leading to the freeway, headed home, when my dashboard bluetooth lit up. It was the staff supervisor calling to tell me she had just heard from Carlos, Reggie’s former foster father.
According to Carlos, Reggie had walked from the courthouse, located in a spiffy part of town, all the way to Carlos’s house, located in a not-so-spiffy part of town. The distance between these two points, I’m guessing, is 25 miles.
When Carlos returned home that evening, he found Reggie standing outside his house. So he put him in his car and headed back to the residential treatment facility where I work. That’s when Patricia, the supervisor, called me.
Before I left work, Patricia, my boss Sharon and I, had huddled in the rotunda discussing options in case Reggie showed up on campus.
“I don’t want him back here,” Sharon said, clearly cowed by the Liability gods. “We can’t keep him safe.”
“What are you going to do?” I asked Patricia, on bluetooth.
“Well, I’m not gonna turn him away. We’ll take him in for the night and call his worker. Hopefully they can pick him up tomorrow morning.”
I drove home in a cloud of relief. Relief that Reggie was safe. Relief that he had walked to Carlos’s house, and not his mother’s. But it was no surprise, really, that he had chosen to go to Carlos’s.
It was the only home he had never known.