A Child Means a Chance to Start Over

ByABC News

Aug. 4, 2005 -- -- When "Primetime" visited the Black Canyon School, part of Arizona's Department of Juvenile Corrections, it was hard to miss 16-year-old Casey.

She was seven months pregnant. She had been charged with possession of marijuana, paraphernalia, aggravated assault and violation of probation.

She readily admitted to being a thief who looked for trouble -- although she knows it was hard to tell at first.

"Everybody thought I was so innocent and sweet," she told "Primetime" co-anchor Chris Cuomo. "'Oh, look at her! She's so cute!' And I'm just looking at them, I'm like, 'Yeah, you better watch your stuff you know.'"

Casey went on: "I stoled [sic] cars, I got in fights, I robbed houses -- totally defiant. I didn't care."

Casey's records show abuse by her convict father and years in protective custody.

Like Casey herself, the father of her baby is a teenager too. Casey sees her pregnancy as a chance for a new beginning and for the love she never had when she was young. It is giving her a reason and opportunity to turn her life around.

Casey told Cuomo her pregnancy makes her feel like she needs to make more of the opportunity that she had in your own life. "I need to change. I just, I have to," she said.

"I know that if I wasn't pregnant I would be fighting. I wouldn't care," she continued. "But now I actually care and I'm going to do what I need to do. And I'm going to get out and I'm going to be a good mom."

Two months later, Casey went into labor. It lasted for eight hours, but when it was over, she had 8 lb., 21-inch Emily Renee.

When Casey first saw Emily, she told her, "You were worth every little bit, yes you were," and gave the baby a kiss. "You came out quick, thanks."

Casey would not be able to raise her daughter at Black Mountain though, so staff placed her with her grandmother, 15 miles away.

When Emily Renee grows up, the circumstances of her birth will likely be of interest to her.

Casey said, "I'll tell her the truth. I'm gonna tell her what I did. I'll just tell her that there's always hope."

This weekend Casey will be released and turn 17. She will live with her mother and step-dad raising Emily Renee.

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