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Juvenile Justice and Students With Disabilities: Profiles of Several State Initiatives

NCJ Number
Eve Muller
Date Published
November 2006
16 pages
This report describes the initiatives in various States that are intended to meet the special educational needs of youth in the juvenile justice system who have learning disabilities that include emotional disorders and mental retardation.
The report first presents an overview of the Federal Government's efforts to improve educational results for justice-involved youth with disabilities. The main body of the report then reviews the findings of a survey of State education agencies (SEAs) to determine State-level infrastructures and initiatives designed to serve students with disabilities in the juvenile justice system. This survey, which was conducted in November and December of 2005, was called Project Forum. Eight States were identified as having specific programs in place for these students. Representatives of these programs were interviewed between the months of July and October 2006. The States are Arkansas, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, New York, and Virginia. Perhaps the best known of these initiatives is in Arkansas, which sponsors a program known as the Juvenile Education Initiative (JEdI). JEdI is funded through the State's Department of Special Education, using Part B set-aside funds. It involves close collaboration between the Arkansas Department of Education and the 15 county-operated juvenile detention facilities throughout the State. The purpose of JEdI is to improve educational services to youth in juvenile detention facilities, particularly those with disabilities. It uses a Web-based educational program that focuses on the development of math and literacy skills for youth 10-18 years old. The program assesses students' baseline skill levels and provides instructional guidelines to educational staff. The components of this program are described. Components of State-level programs in the other States are described as well. 2 references