For many youth, the gateway to incarceration begins with a referral from the classroom to the courtroom. Youth involved in the juvenile justice system are at serious risk of being pushed out of school and pulled into a mass of poor outcomes. But education is vital to reducing participation in crime because it provides academic instruction, social services, recreational programs, and mentoring opportunities.
In 2002, YRJ established the SchoolWorks program to serve foster children and at-risk youth. This year, thanks to funding from the Autzen Foundation and the Spirit Mountain Community Fund, Youth, Rights & Justice will expand our SchoolWorks program to provide education advocacy for youth involved in the juvenile justice system.
Over the past 18 years, we have developed significant expertise and strong collaborative relationships that contribute to program success. SchoolWorks attorneys have handled over 3,400 cases, all aimed at ensuring students get the support they need to enroll in school, stay in school, succeed, and graduate.
Youth, Rights & Justice is thankful to the Spirit Mountain Community Fund and the Autzen Foundation for their support of the SchoolWorks program and we look forward to continuing to help our student clients succeed.
To read more about why education is so vital for youth involved in the juvenile justice system and why we are pushing for in-person instruction for youth in detention, read our recent testimony to the House Interim Committee on Education.