Juvenile Justice

JUVENILE JUSTICE: IMPROVE THE LIVES OF YOUTH ADJUDICATED DELINQUENT

DRI will focus on the following areas:

Reducing the use of restraint and seclusion in out-of-home placements for adjudicated youth

Why is this important? Research shows that the use of restraint and seclusion is harmful to youth and should only be used if the youth is in imminent danger of harming self or others and only for the time needed to deescalate that danger.

What will DRI do to try to achieve this goal?

  • Monitor or investigate facilities where there is use of restraint and seclusion
  • Provide individual advocacy to youth who have been inappropriately restrained and secluded (this includes overuse of restraint/seclusion and/or use of restraint/seclusion in conflict with state/federal regulations)
  • Train youth in out-of-home placements regarding their legal rights
  • Train administrators and staff of facilities, juvenile court officers, caseworkers, attorneys, judges about the laws regarding the use of restraint and seclusion.
  • Collaborate with the Iowa Department of Human Services (and Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, if applicable) to ensure best-practice regulations governing the use of restraint and seclusion in out-of-home placement facilities and enforcement of those regulations.

Increasing compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) in out-of-home placements for adjudicated youth

Why is this important? Youth with disabilities are disproportionately represented in the Iowa juvenile justice system and in out-of-home placements. It is important to ensure these students are receiving FAPE under the IDEA to help ensure deeper involvement with the system as education is an important part of lowering recidivism.

What will DRI do to try to achieve this goal?

  • Provide individual and systemic advocacy in regards to IDEA violations (this includes filing due process or state complaints with the Iowa Department of Education)
  • Collaborate with the AEA Special Education Directors of Area Education Agencies for better oversight
  • Train youth in out-of-home placements regarding their legal
  • Train administrators and staff of facilities, juvenile court officers, caseworkers, attorneys, judges about the requirements of the IDEA.

Expanding community integrated service options for youth adjudicated delinquent

 Why is this important? Individuals with disabilities have a right to treatment in the least restrictive environment possible.

What will DRI do to try to achieve this goal?

  • Continue to actively participate with the Iowa Girls Justice Initiative
  • Collaborate with the Iowa Department of Human Services to procure more services and supports in community settings, rather than institutions (this includes continued collaboration in regards to service RFPs and contracts with in-state and out-of-state service providers)
  • Collaborate with the other juvenile justice and child welfare stakeholders to advocate for legislative and regulatory changes to increase community options for adjudicated
  • Continue connections with national experts and movements to reform the juvenile justice system in Iowa to a more community integrated system.
  • If needed, collaborate with and/or provide technical assistance to juvenile justice attorneys to ensure individual placement in least restrictive environment.