Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $766,942)
Youth Rights & Justice (YRJ) will provide educational advocacy and support for youth returning to the community. In order to improve educational reentry services, particularly for youth from marginalized communities struggling with high recidivism rates, this project expands YRJ’s existing SchoolWorks program by creating a Youth Educational Supports (YES) program focused on youth reentering the community from correctional facilities or other out-of-home settings. Through SchoolWorks/YES, participating youth will receive critical educational advocacy and services upon release from confinement. Youth-driven advocacy and the confidential, trusting relationships between youth and their lawyers are at the core of the model’s success. The SchoolWorks/YES team will work closely with youth to support their educational transition. Cases will remain open sufficiently long to ensure there is a plan for appropriate educational support and to monitor whether the plan is having its desired impact. SchoolWorks/YES will serve a diverse population of youth in the Portland Metro area, comprised of Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas Counties. SchoolWorks/YES clients will closely mirror the race and ethnicity of the population of youth committed to OYA, wherein African American and Indigenous youth, in particular, are significantly overrepresented within the population.