The Youth Justice Education Clinic:
Home of the Everychild Integrated Education & Legal Advocacy Project
With ACLU, Public Counsel, the Youth Justice Coalition and other partners, YJEC drafted a letter to urge Los Angeles County officials, Probation, and the Juvenile Court to release as many young people who are incarcerated in the County juvenile camps, halls, and other facilities as possible to protect their safety, dignity, and human rights. YJEC was also instrumental in shaping the recommendations for meaningful distance learning opportunities and the continuity of special education and related services for students with disabilities that remain in juvenile detention facilities during Covid-19.
In addition, YJEC submitted a letter to our United States Senators and United States Representatives regarding troubling aspects of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, Economic Stability Act ("CARES") also known as the Federal Stimulus Bill. CARES requires the Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, to report back to Congress within 30 days about whether she recommends waiving protections for students with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA") and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 during the time of this unprecedented pandemic. Despite the inclusion of this "report back" waiver language in the final version of the law, YJEC will continue to working with our community partners to protect the rights of our clients with disabilities through advocacy at the federal and state level in the coming months.
On March 26, YJEC Clinical Director Megan Stanton-Trehan spoke to the San Gabriel Valley Times about these issues.
Finally, YJEC submitted a letter on May 18, 2020 to Gavin Newsom, Governor, Tony Thurmond, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Linda Darling-Hammond, President of the State Board of Education holding them acountable for ensuring that California schools spend CARES Funds with a focus on equity, transparency, and accountability, namely for reducing inequities for high-need students that have been caused or exacerbated by COVID-19.
The Youth Justice Education Clinic: Home of the Everychild Integrated & Legal Advocacy Project
The Center for Juvenile Law & Policy (CJLP) at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles was chosen by the Everychild Foundation to develop an innovative program that will train law students in best practices to represent foster youth involved in educational and juvenile justice proceedings.
The unique crossover program, the Everychild Integrated Education & Legal Advocacy Project (EIELAP), will train 36 law students from the Youth Justice Education Clinic to assist 300 Los Angeles youth over the course of three years. Loyola law students will work as part of a collaborative team that will include education advocates, criminal-defense representatives and social workers. “Foster youth already have the deck stacked against them when it comes to the criminal justice system,” said Loyola Professor Sean Kennedy, Kaplan & Feldman Executive Director of the CJLP and former Federal Public Defender, Central District of California. “With the Everychild Foundation’s significant help, we have the power to fulfill a critical unmet need: the holistic representation of foster youth who have been charged with crimes. Together, we have the opportunity to secure justice for kids who have traditionally lacked the means to obtain it.”
Avoiding the “school to prison pipeline” requires acknowledging and addressing the causal relationship between unmet special-education needs and court involvement. Many of the clinic's clients are children who are entitled to Regional Center services, social security relief, or Individualized Education Plans that the school system has failed to provide. At the Youth Justice Education Clinic, law students under the supervision of an education attorney represent these clients in due process hearings, disciplinary hearings, and IEP assessments in order to advocate for their legal entitlements. By addressing the special education needs of these children, the Center increases their chances for a lasting positive outcome.
For course information, please visit here.