Short Story – Tony and Mrs. Harjo

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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“For my client Tony, a 13-year-old boy, losing the only parent who was present in his life and due to alcohol poisoning nonetheless, must be one of the toughest situations to deal with. He now finds himself in a tug of war between the legal system and the uncertainty of what is going to happen with his custodial situation. The recent events have had consequences on Tony that are already visible and should raise red flags about how all this is affecting him.

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He is showing signs of the effects of trauma in people his age; such as, disengagement from school, has no academic interests, and even though he’s always been quiet, the teachers have reported that he hasn’t been able to concentrate in the past couple months.

I think it is important to have a point of contact with whom to debrief on particularly emotionally taking cases. It is so important to talk out loud about things that put stress on us in order to rationalize on them and avoid getting our own ideas and misconceptions involved in the case. Practicing some type of mindful physical activity, whether it’s working out or yoga or meditation. I think these types of activities allow us to clear our mental space and approach situations in a different way with a more clear head-space.

Tony and Mrs. Harjo right now are having to deal with the criminal justice system because Tony’s biological father is serving 5 years in county jail. They will need to work with the system and a lawyer who is willing to help Tony’s father adopt him and make him the legal parent. The problem is that the attorney they were referred to said the probability of it being successful was too low and he wouldn’t take the case. Coming from a caregiver with substance abuse and eventual death leading from it and a father who is imprisoned on his third sentence the likelihood that Tony will enter the criminal justice system is high. This likelihood is increased if his academic performance keeps falling and he eventually becomes a high school dropout.

According to this module’s guest speaker Emma Lauer, there are social advocates who work within the justice system to help people navigate it. This could be a great resource to my clients especially pairing them with someone who works with minors and is knowledgeable in how to go about helping with the adoption side of the case. In terms of helping Tony stay out of the system, providing prevention and early intervention programs will be the first place to start. These programs are designed to engage youth groups in becoming a positive, contributing member within their communities.”

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Short Story - Tony and Mrs. Harjo. (2021, Jun 16). Retrieved from