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Education and Interagency Collaboration: A Lifeline for Justice-Involved Youth, Center for Juvenile Justice Reform

This report, from the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University, finds that youth in the juvenile justice system do not often have access to the same high quality educational opportunities as their peers, and notes that incarcerated youth tend to struggle in academic settings. It further notes that youth rarely earn their GED or high school diploma while in detention facilities, and points to a number of barriers to education faced by these youth, including a lack of educational services, resources, or adequately trained staff, failure of agencies to communicate regarding students’ academic needs, and a lack of comprehensive re-entry programs to assist youth transitioning out of detention.

The report discusses several initiatives that have demonstrated positive educational outcomes for youth in detention facilities:

  • Crossover Youth Practice Model (CYPM): Travis County, TX, program that uses Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) as educational liaisons responsible for ensuring that youths’ educational needs were met, including monitoring progress, ensuring transfer of records, and tracking school placement and attendance
  • Maya Angelou Academy (MAA): Washington, D.C. school that emphasizes positive behavioral interventions and mutually respectful school environment
  • Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings (CEEAS): national initiative that works with facility-based schools to provide technical support and training to facility-based schools
  • Youth in Custody Practice Model (YICPM): national initiative providing guidance to juvenile facilities relating to case planning, facility services, re-entry, and community services
  • Education Advocate (EA) Program: Washington state program that addresses educational and vocational needs of justice-involved youth after they return to the community