This section focuses on resources that 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 and child welfare systems.
“Transition” refers both to when children and youth move into the juvenile justice and child welfare systems and from these systems back to their families, communities, and schools. Simple communication and coordination efforts and basic transition processes such as timely records transfer can have a dramatic impact on a student’s engagement in school and likelihood of avoiding incarceration in the future.
Various policies and legislation highlight the importance of transition services in a number of ways. For example:
- The Neglected and Delinquent (N and D) program is authorized by Part D of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as reauthorized in the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015. Under the reauthorization, major changes to the program include emphasizing the attainment of regular high school diplomas as the preferred program outcome. Another change emphasizes improving transitions for youth between correctional facilities and local education programs and schools, particularly to provide for educational continuity, ensure credit accrual, and support the successful completion of high school and pathways to postsecondary education and the workforce.
- Under the N and D program, Subpart 1, each State agency must reserve 15 percent to 30 percent of funds for transition services. Subpart 2 requires correctional facilities that receive grants to focus on transferring academic records and plans to facilitate the transition between the local education agency and the correctional facility.
- Title II of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 2002 requires States to provide services to help juveniles make the transition to the world of work and self-sufficiency, and enhance coordination with local schools that these juveniles would otherwise attend.
- The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires transition plans for special education students 14 years old and older.
Research has demonstrated that adolescents with a high-quality supportive adult in their lives are more likely to enroll in post-secondary education often resulting in a happy and more productive adulthood. Mentor programs can provide that supportive adult that so many youth who are involved in the juvenile justice system need. Through our work at NDTAC, we have promoted the idea of increased positive adult role models for youth who are system-involved results in better youth outcomes.