Front of a court buildingAn online resource page to accompany  RAISE and CPIR’s webinar on Students with Disabilities in Juvenile Justice

This online resource page expands upon the information provided in the September 20, 2016 webinar on reaching and serving students with disabilities in juvenile justice. Here, you’ll find connections to resources from:


Federal Agencies First!

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
U.S. Department of Justice | OJJDP collaborates with professionals from diverse disciplines to improve juvenile justice policies and practices. It also administers a Formula Grants Program to support state and local efforts to prevent delinquency and make juvenile justice system improvements. You can find contact information for your state representatives and organizations that administer many OJJDP programs.

Correctional Education in Juvenile Justice Facilities
U.S. Department of Education | Come to this landing page at ED (linked above), and you’ll find a wealth of information to explore, including (but not limited to) such resources as:

Letter to Chief State School Officers and State Attorneys General
December 8, 2014 letter on the importance of providing high-quality correctional education.

Guiding Principles for Providing High-Quality Education in Juvenile Justice Secure Care Settings
Part of a guidance package that identifies promising practices for improving education programs in juvenile justice facilities, as well as areas in which federal legal obligations apply.

Fact Sheet on the Correctional Education Guidance Package
A 2-page brief outlining the contents of the Correctional Education Guidance Package, with quick statistics on the importance of providing education services to youth in confinement. Also available in Spanish.

Dear Colleague Letter on IDEA for Students with Disabilities in Correctional Facilities
Clarifies state and public agency obligations under IDEA to ensure the provision of FAPE to eligible students with disabilities in correctional facilities.

Dear Colleague Letter on the Civil Rights of Students in Juvenile Justice Residential Facilities
Clarifies that those juvenile justice residential facilities that receive federal funding, like all other public schools, must comply with federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, and disability.

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Centers on Juvenile Justice

National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability
Offers such resources as:

Pathways to Justice—Start the Conversation.
The package begins with the Pathways to Justice 4-minute video (linked below), which highlights challenges faced by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the criminal justice system and the need for effective disability-related training at the state and community levels. There’s a Conversation Guide (suggestions for starting the conversation with law enforcement and others) and thThere’s a Conversation Guide.


Juvenile Law Center
Juvenile Law Center plays a leadership role nationally and in Pennsylvania in shaping and using the law on behalf of children in the child welfare and justice systems to promote fairness, prevent harm, secure access to appropriate services, and ensure a smooth transition from adolescence to adulthood. Lots of resources and connections here, including What the Every Student Succeeds Act Means for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System.

National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Coalition
A collaborative array of youth- and family- serving, social justice, law enforcement, corrections, and faith-based organizations, working to improve public safety by promoting fair and equitable practices and programs for youth involved or at risk of becoming involved in the juvenile and criminal justice systems. You may be wish to join the coalition and may be interested in their resources, such as: Promoting Safe Communities: Recommendations for the Administration. The 29-page report looks at the current state of juvenile justice and offers detailed  recommendations for reform.

National Technical Assistance Center for the Education of Neglected or Delinquent Children and Youth (NDTAC)
NDTAC serves as a national resource center to provide direct assistance to States, schools, communities, and parents seeking information on the education of children and youth who are considered neglected, delinquent, or at-risk. The education of youth involved in the juvenile justice system is a primary focus of the Center.

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Resources from and for Parent Centers

Parent Centers have much to offer on the involvement of youth with disabilities in juvenile justice–and they have a need for materials they can use and share with the youth and families they serve. Any of these interest you?

Juvenile Justice Program (in MN)
This PACER Center project is a good place to find parent-friendly materials on the many facets of youth with disabilities involved in the juvenile justice system. Much of the information is specific to Minnesota, but there are numerous links to documents and tools that other Parent Centers can readily use.

What Youth Need to Know if They Are Questioned by Police:  Tips for Parents to Prepare Their Youth with a Disability.
A 2-pager from PACER Center.

Be Safe | Video and curriculum for people with autism and related disabilities
BE SAFE The Movie and BE SAFE Teaching Edition are teaching tools that include actors with autism and related disabilities showing effective ways to interact with real police officers, modeling safe words and actions. Lessons in the Companion Curriculum offer materials to reach a wide range of learners. We regret to say that these materials aren’t free, but check out the 5-minute movie trailer explaining the package, which is also available in Spanish.

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Other Resources to Consult

Juvenile Justice
Another fabulous resource page from Wrightslaw.

Get Involved: A Collection of Juvenile Justice Resources
The Annie E. Casey Foundation has been working to improve outcomes for youth involved with the juvenile justice system. Its Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative and work to reduce youth incarceration focus on creating systems that use proven family-oriented interventions and lock up fewer kids. Check out this collection of resources and join the Initiative.

Breaking the School-to-Prison Pipeline for Students with Disabilities
From the National Council on Disability. NCD concludes that IDEA can and should be an important part of the solution to the School-to-Prison Pipeline crisis. Thus, the recommendations in this 2015 report focus on ways to improve existing special education delivery and enforcement systems to better meet the needs of students with disabilities who risk entering the Pipeline.

Making the Right Turn: A Guide About Improving Transition Outcomes for Youth Involved in the Juvenile Corrections System
This guide provides professionals with well-researched and documented facts, offers evidence-based research, highlights promising practices, and provides the Guideposts for Success for Youth Involved in the Juvenile Corrections System, in addition to pointing out areas requiring further attention by policymakers and identifying promising practices.  From NCWD/Youth.

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Updated 8/2023