Robert F. Kennedy Juvenile Justice Collaborative, a youth justice and reentry policy project of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps, applauds Congress for passing the Every Student Succeeds Act (S. 1177). This reauthorization of the federal elementary and secondary education law, a critical civil rights law that helps to ensure equal access to education and opportunity for young people nationwide, will improve access to education for youth reentering the community from the juvenile justice system.
The Every Student Succeeds Act amends Title I, Part D of the education law, which addresses neglected, delinquent, and at-risk youth, to strengthen access to education upon reentry by:
- Requiring education planning, credit transfer, and timely re-enrollment in appropriate educational placements for youth transitioning between correctional facilities and local educational agencies and programs;
- Requiring correctional facilities receiving funds under the law to coordinate educational services with local educational agencies upon a young person’s reentry so as to minimize education and achievement disruption; and
- Supporting targeted services for youth who have come into contact with both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
“Approximately two-thirds of young people reentering the community from the juvenile justice system do not return to an appropriate educational placement, seriously undermining their chances for reentry success and limiting their range of life opportunities” Jenny Collier, Project Director for Robert F. Kennedy Juvenile Justice Collaborative stated. “Robert F. Kennedy Juvenile Justice Collaborative applauds passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, because it will help ensure that youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system can access educational services – something that stakeholders nationwide, in particular young people, have decried as sorely lacking in the current system.”
Over the past three years, Robert F. Kennedy Juvenile Justice Collaborative has helped lead a coalition effort to collaborate with young people impacted by the justice system, as well as consult with over 100 community leaders and experts from the education, justice, and youth advocacy fields, to develop recommendations and educate policymakers about the need to increase access to education for young people returning from the juvenile justice system. Passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act accomplishes some of the key changes needed, and increases the likelihood that youth involved in and returning from the juvenile justice system can access the education and reentry supports they need and deserve in order to succeed.
Jenny Collier, J.D.