Part I of this Note will describe the circuit split. It will provide background on the A.M. [A.M. v. Luzerne County Juvenile Detention Center] and Doe 4 cases, including an explanation of the major precedents on which the Third and Fourth Circuits based their respective decisions. Then, Part II will argue that A.M. and its deliberate indifference standard cannot appropriately be applied in cases involving detained unaccompanied minors, also called Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs). This almost twenty-year-old standard does not consider the latest information about immigration policy and the unique mental health needs of UACs such as Doe 4 who came to the United States to escape traumatic situations in their home countries. At the same time, though, Part II will explain why Doe 4’s substantial departure from professional judgment standard, which the Supreme Court declined to review, is still not the correct solution to the UAC-specific problems that A.M.’s standard does not cover. Part III will recommend possible alternative standards that would be better equipped to practically and efficiently ensure that detained UACs receive the mental health care to which they are entitled. Finally, Part IV will acknowledge and refute several potential counterarguments.
This abstract has been taken from the author's introduction.