Juvenile Justice

Youth with disabilities are at a higher risk for involvement in the juvenile justice system. There is an increasing number of youth referred to court for behaviors that should be addressed through an Individual Education Program (IEP), 504 plan, educational support team (EST) plan or behavior plan. Many youth have not had the necessary evaluations to identify disabilities and may lack the proper interventions and therapies to effectively support them.

Families have the potential to be the greatest source of positive change and support for youth with disabilities involved in the juvenile justice system. If your youth is struggling and you know or suspect that they have a disability we want to help. We can:

  • Help youth with disabilities and their families become better informed about their legal rights and options for the education, treatment, and rehabilitation of youthful offenders.
  • Inform parents and professionals on the educational rights of children and youth in correctional placements.
  • Inform parents about the services that youth receive in special education and transition services while incarcerated.
  • Discuss restorative justice as another option that should be considered if your youth is involved with the criminal justice system. It emphasizes that crime damages people, communities, and relationships. If crime is about harm, then restorative justice is about repairing the harm.

Where do youth receive an education if they are in corrections?

The Community High School of Vermont is a fully accredited high school through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and  primarily serves students who:

  • Have not obtained a high school diploma and are under the custody of the Department of Corrections (DOC).
  • Have a high need in the area of employment, as identified by DOC classification procedures.
  • Under Vermont state law, all individuals under the age of 23, under custody of the DOC, and without high school diplomas, have a mandatory education requirement. These students are enrolled upon admission.

The Woodside Juvenile Rehabilitation Center, known simply as Woodside, is operated by the Family Services Division of the Vermont Department for Children and Families. Woodside provides short- and long-term placements and treatment services for youth in a safe and secure environment. Residents receive medical and psychiatric services in the least-restrictive setting possible given their needs. Woodside serves youth ages 10 to 17 who:

  • Are in DCF custody;
  • Have delinquency charges or adjudications;
  • Exhibit harmful behaviors towards themselves or others; and
  • Require significant treatment intervention.

Youth in the custody of the Department of Corrections may also be placed at Woodside.

The Woodside School is housed within the Woodside Juvenile Rehabilitation Center. It is managed by the Family Services Division of the Vermont Department of Children and Families (DCF) and regulated by the Vermont Agency of Education, in accordance with Federal and State laws.

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