The first time Katrina Edwards was locked in a psychiatric hospital for children, she was sure a foster parent would pick her up the next day.

It was a spring night in 2012 when Edwards, then 12 years old, was admitted to North Star Behavioral Health in Anchorage. In a photo taken upon her arrival, Edwards wears an Abercrombie hoodie and has dark circles under her eyes, her expression skeptical. During her initial evaluation, a psychiatrist asked a battery of questions, including what Edwards wanted to be when she grew up (a police officer), what she did for fun (sports), and how she slept (poorly, with nightmares).

Alaska’s Office of Children’s Services had put Edwards in foster care earlier that year after she reported being sexually abused by her mother’s boyfriend. Asked why she’d ended up at North Star, Edwards explained that she had threatened to run away from her foster home and commit suicide. Medical records from her admission noted that she had a history of fleeting suicidal ideation, but that Edwards said she didn’t […]

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