Meeting the Educational Needs of Youth Exposed to the Juvenile Justice System
This second edition of NDTAC’s Transition Toolkit brings together strategies, existing practices, and updated resources and documents on transition to enable administrators and service providers to deliver high-quality transition services for children and youth moving into, through, and out of education programs within the juvenile justice system.
Simple communication efforts and the implementation of basic transition processes, such as timely records transfer, can have a dramatic impact on a student’s engagement in school and avoidance of further incarceration. As such, the focus of the Toolkit is on the administrative processes, coordination efforts, and communication practices within the juvenile justice system. The Toolkit offers ideas and tools that administrators can use to improve the basic functioning of their treatment and institution-based programs, with a primary focus on programs related to the educational needs of youth and those who directly provide education services.
The Transition Toolkit 2.0 is organized into seven sections and an appendix (individual PDFs), as listed below. In each section, strategies specific to innovative practices, records transfer, and family involvement are presented. You also can view and download the entire Transition Toolkit 2.0 (PDF) and browse to different sections and pages by using the links within the Table of Contents.
- Introduction—This section provides an overview of the Toolkit, as well as a description of the methodology used to collect the data and resources provided in the Toolkit.
- Overview of Transition—This section illustrates the complexity of the transition process and describes characteristics of effective and ineffective transition systems. From there, the section presents overarching strategies that can be used throughout the transition process, including strategies related to communication, the development and evaluation of transition plans, and collaboration with other individuals and agencies.
- Entry Into the Juvenile Justice System—Entry is the first stage of transition, where planning for successful exit from the juvenile justice system begins. This stage involves arrest, intake with screening assessments, records requests, records receipt and entry into a database, and development of a transition team and transition plan. Some of the strategies presented in this section include assembling a transition team, clearly defining roles of individuals and agencies, and orienting family members to educational programs.
- Residence—Residency provides an opportunity for administrators and service providers to more thoroughly plan and begin to implement practices that will impact the youth's future in the community. All activities during a youth's stay in a facility should be aimed at preparing the youth for successful employment or entry into an educational system after release.
- Exit From Incarceration—Some research shows that the key to preventing youth recidivism, as well as dropout between release and entering into the public educational system, is engagement (e.g., involvement in school and/or work). Youth may find transitioning from a structured juvenile justice environment to a less-structured mainstream education or employment environment to be difficult. To successfully reintegrate into the community, youth may need an array of support services not offered within the scope of these settings. Some of the strategies presented in this section include those relating to conducting a prerelease visit to the new school, starting or continuing transitional mentoring and counseling, and engaging families in decisionmaking.
- Aftercare—The aftercare period of transition is critical, as this is the time when the youth reenters the context from which he or she first came into detention. The need for effective aftercare services has been well documented, and as such, a plethora of supports need to be in place as the youth adjusts to community and school life. Strategies are presented in this section for ensuring followup and monitoring, tracking progress and collecting followup data, continuing to provide support to family members, and more.
- Appendix A. Self-Study and Planning Tool—The self-study and planning tool is designed to help facilities and institutional schools reflect on their use of key strategies related to youth transitioning into, through, and out of the juvenile justice system. The ultimate purpose of the self-study and planning tool is to help juvenile justice facilities prioritize the strategies presented in the Transition Toolkit 2.0, assess the current level of implementation of each strategy, and then make a plan for revising current processes to make better use of the presented strategies.
Published August 2008