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In a thirteenth-floor courtroom in downtown Dallas, Jackie Juarez took the witness stand to testify about years of mistreatment under the system that raised her. Now eighteen years old, she stood a little over four and a half feet tall, with dark curls that fell atop a long, cream-colored cardigan. She pulled By Patrick Michels the microphone close as she spoke. At eleven years old, she had been placed in the state’s custody, for reasons that remain confidential. She was removed from a group home after reporting inappropriate text messages from a male staffer—he remained employed at the facility, while Juarez was accused of causing trouble—only to be shuffled among hotels and churches and even forced to sleep in office buildings. She was what the state calls a “child without placement,” or CWOP—a cold acronym used by bureaucrats to refer to the perilous limbo on the margins of the foster care system.


Matthew Fraidin is quoted on page 9 in this article.