June 09, 2017 Practice Points

Practical Tools to Meet the Educational Needs of Kids in the Juvenile Justice System

By Cheron Z. Mims

The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), recently launched a new web-based toolkit on Improving Outcomes for Youth with Disabilities in Juvenile Corrections. As recently noted by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice the fact that a student has been charged with or convicted of a crime does not diminish his or her substantive rights or the procedural safeguards and remedies provided under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). More than 60,000 youth are currently in juvenile correctional facilities, and a large portion of these youth are identified as having a disability, yet less than half report that they are receiving special education services. This toolkit includes evidence- and research-based practices, tools, and resources that educators, families, facilities, and community agencies can use to better support and improve the long-term outcomes for youth with disabilities in juvenile correctional facilities. The toolkit focuses on four key areas: facility-wide practices, educational practices, transition and re-entry practices, and community and interagency practices.

Lastly, the toolkit includes linked resources to support the use of the State Correctional Education Self-Assessment (SCES). The SCES will help State Educational Agencies (SEAs) identify systems-features and interagency collaboration that need to be in place in order to improve practices for youth with disabilities in correctional facilities.

Cheron Z. Mims is class of 2017 graduate with a bachelor of arts major in anthropology and a minor in political science from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

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