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Barriers to Achievement and Higher Education for Youth in California Juvenile Court Schools, Youth Law Center

This report from the Youth Law Center discusses California’s failure to provide incarcerated youth with adequate educational services and suggests that the state needs to do more to ensure that students have access to educational guidance, quality academics, transition services, and educational supports. The report provides educational statistics for California youth involved in the juvenile justice system, as well as statistics relating to the operation of schools within juvenile justice facilities. The report notes that many juvenile detention schools have high rates of truancy, suspension, and dropout. Additionally, it notes that the lack of quality education has a disproportionate impact on youth of color and English learners. Finally, it states that California’s juvenile detention facilities, as a whole, do not promote college and career training.

The report gives a number of recommendations for juvenile detention facilities, including holding the facility schools accountable for youth attendance, eliminating suspensions in facility schools, providing transition support and assisting youth with re-enrolling in school after their release from detention, advocating for high quality educational programs, requiring collaboration with the probation department to improve language access assessments and services, developing individualized assessment programs, developing curricula that align with community school curricula and working to ensure that credits earned in detention will transfer to the students’ community school, assisting youth and providing resources for post-secondary education enrollment, providing comprehensive transition planning, and advocating for appropriate school placements and immediate enrollment following release from detention.