When LCYC began representing "Ray," he was in a special education school for students with severe behavior disorders. Ray was not connected to family and placed in a residential facility. LCYC's advocacy in and out of court reconnected Ray with his biological family and led to his transition into a family foster home. After much team work, advocacy, effort on behalf of the youth, and unwavering support from a foster family, Ray transitioned to a main stream high school and no longer requires a behavioral plan. In addition to his school success, Ray celebrated his adoption.
EDUCATIONAL ADVOCACY: WHY IT'S IMPORTANT
Children in foster care, relative to their peers, are less likely to graduate on time and less likely to graduate at all. As a group, they generally score lower on standardized tests. Multiple movements in foster care often result in multiple school changes as well, impeding their ability to achieve success in school. For more information on the statistics and studies regarding children in foster care and opportunities to change the tide, consider reading this brochure, produced by the National Working Group on Foster Care and Education.
Youth involved in the juvenile justice system also face grim statistics in terms of school success. As stated in the 2014 report, "Core Principles for Reducing Recidivism and Improving Other Outcomes for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System," at page 30,
Youth in the juvenile justice system are significantly more likely than their non-delinquent peers to be suspended or expelled, have academic skills well below their grade level, possess a learning or developmental disability, and drop out of school. Enrollment in school and academic achievement is associated with lower rates of reoffending and better outcomes into adulthood, and degree attainment is strongly associated with future earning potential.
educational advocacy within LCYC
LCYC provides educational advocacy to the children we represent in child welfare and juvenile court matters, as well as to youth, ages 12 -24 years, who are or are at risk of homelessness. We protect youth rights to an education, striving to expand opportunities and school engagement while simultaneously decreasing the risks of homelessness and recidivism in the future.
LCYC's staff is experienced in advocating for children involved in special education and in responding to school discipline matters such as a suspension or expulsion. LCYC is also familiar with policies and laws in place impacting LGBTQ+ youth and the disparate impact of school discipline upon youth of color.
LCYC often advocates in and out of court, for child's continued enrollment in his or her neighborhood school. For youth in the child welfare system and those struggling with homelessness, remaining in the same school can provide the youth with a sense of stability in the midst of so much uncertainty. Multiple school movements also negatively impact a youth's ability to succeed academically.