Education for Students With Disabilities in the Juvenile Justice System

Students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) do not lose their right to public education, including all rights to special education, when they are adjudicated delinquent. Once in the juvenile justice system, young people with IDD may be placed in a variety of settings, ranging from home confinement to foster homes to group residential settings and so on, all the way down the continuum to secure detention and solitary confinement. Wherever they are, they have the same rights to access the coursework the state requires for all students, as well as the services and supports provided by their IEP and/or Section 504 plan. In a secure setting, the way in which some services are provided may be altered, but the services cannot be denied.

Speaker Bio: A litigator with more than 26 years of experience in juvenile and education law, Diane Smith Howard’s work at NDRN focuses on conditions for children, youth and adults with disabilities in institutional systems. Specifically, youth in the juvenile justice, child welfare, education, and refugee resettlement systems, and adults with disabilities in the criminal justice and mental health systems.

Diane holds a B.A. with honors from Colby College, Waterville, ME, and a J. D. from Wayne State University Law School, Detroit, MI. Diane’s passion for this work is rooted in a family connection to foster and adopted children with disabilities, and to adults who are at risk of institutionalization due to a lack of community supports.

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