The authors of this report had the primary goal of determining whether youth feel prepared to return to school upon release from residential detention and commitment programs or facilities
This report examines evidence from reentry services to determine which are effective in preparing youth as they leave the juvenile justice system, and which are not. The authors evaluated educational reentry preparedness among youth being released from a residential program or facility using a Youth Reentry Survey, developed by the Performance-based Standards Learning Institute (PbS), Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators (CJCA), and the Vera Institute of Justice. The authors used PbS youth reentry survey data from six time points between October 2019 and April 2022, and found that youth were more likely to report being prepared for educational reentry when they had received educational assistance while in a residential facility and had positive behavioral outlooks on their goals. Youth were also more likely to report being prepared when they expected to receive continuing care post-release and had structural supports such as transportation or childcare. The authors deduce that facility and reentry programming that emphasizes continuity of education, increases positive behavioral outlooks, and provides post-release support are likely to be useful tools for improving the educational reentry preparedness among detained and committed youth.