NPR Airs In-Depth Story on Health Screen for Incarcerated Girls

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News report follows Leslie Acoca inside Albuquerque, New Mexico detention center to address lack of healthcare for girls in the juvenile justice system.

On November 26, 2012, NPR featured a lengthy piece in its signature news program, All Things Considered, about the medical problems of detained girls and the Girls Health Screen, an innovative solution to these problems authored by Leslie Acoca and her nonprofit organization, the National Girls Health and Justice Institute.

Kaiser Health News released a longer print companion piece highlighting the Girls Health Screen and tracing the journey of Leslie Acoca during the development of the screen.

The NPR radio story and an accompanying NPR print piece are available online at A longer print article appears on the Kaiser Health News website at

In the NPR story, reporter Jenny Gold goes with Leslie into a New Mexico Detention Center to interview teenaged girls about the health problems that might be missed without medical screening and assessments designed just for girls, like the Girls Health Screen. Girls can be heard describing their medical needs in their own words and talking about their experiences trying to get health care while in detention. Leslie gives the Girls Health Screen to one girl who reveals the seriousness of her medical and psychological needs in the process. National experts weigh in on the unmet health needs of girls and the efficacy of the screen.

The Girls Health Screen is the first research-based medical screen designed exclusively for detained girls, the fastest growing segment of the juvenile justice system. It is designed to be the first step in a Girls Health Passport, which will provide seamless care both in locked facilities and in communities. It is being piloted in one Los Angeles Probation Camp for girls and is being considered in several other California Counties.

“With the Girls Health Screen,” says Acoca, “…more vulnerable girls will have a chance at healthier lives, and fewer will be incarcerated as girls, or later as women.”

For more information, please contact the National Girls Health and Justice Institute at 213-687-3500 or blckswans(at)aol(dot)com.


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Leslie Acoca, President
National Girls Health and Justice Institute
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