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By Andrew P. Napolitano
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Robert Hildum
D.C. officials say no records exist documenting inspections, escapes or unusual incidents at a Northwest Washington group home for troubled youth run by a politically connected nonprofit that has seen at least one teenager in its care accused of homicide and another brutally slain in the last year.
Robert Hildum, the interim head of the District's troubled juvenile justice agency, announced his resignation Wednesday, clearing the way for Mayor-elect Vincent C. Gray to appoint the agency's fourth director this year.
A 16-year-old boy in the care of the city's juvenile-justice agency was fatally shot in Northwest Washington on Tuesday - part of a vicious spurt of youth crime and violence in the District this week.
A university student was attacked as he bicycled home after working the evening shift at a waterfront restaurant. A school principal was fatally shot in his bedroom in a Maryland suburb.
It's a time-honored tradition of local government: a somewhat aloof director of a troubled city agency resigns, declaring success in bringing about needed reforms, and eventually a straight-talking replacement comes along and pledges transparency in completing the unfinished job.
Across the nation, states have been experimenting with more compassionate approaches to juvenile justice, but the lack of effective options in Washington raises questions about the success of its ongoing reforms.
Carlos Bernard Alexander's cry carried surprise and terror when three boys trapped him in a dark courtyard of the Langston Terrace public housing complex in Northeast Washington and demanded his money.
Five teenagers loiter behind a scarred steel door that opens on the cramped foyer of a squat, brick apartment building, one of many in a warren of public-housing complexes in Southwest Washington. Their looks are vacant but their manner is confrontational.
D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty selected a new interim chief to the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, D.C. Deputy Attorney General Robert Hildum. Mr. Hildum replaces Marc Shindler, who has been serving as the interim chief.
He told The Times that he is intrigued by a program in Hawaii that involves weekend detentions for youths released into the community who break the rules.
"These kids are growing up in abject poverty, they are victims of crime, they have seen death and they have been abused. The trauma is unimaginable. We can't ignore that," he said. "Reform can't happen until we fulfill the promise of services."