The current juvenile justice system is anything but just. Studies reveal that:
● Black students are suspended or expelled at a rate 3x’s greater than their white peers.
● Black students represent 31% of school-related arrests, yet only represent 16% of student enrollment. (White students represent 51% enrollment and 39% arrests).
● A child who is arrested is 2x’s more likely to drop out of school. For a child who appears in court, that likelihood quadruples.
Dubbed the School to Prison Pipeline, the problems originate long before a child is arrested. Beginning as early as age 4, black students represent 48% of all preschool children receiving more than one out-of-school suspension even though they only represent 18% of the preschool population. White students represent 26% of suspensions and 43% of enrollment.
According to the National Education Association, a suspension is a number-one predictor— even more than poverty—of whether children will drop out of school. This affects learning and leads to a greater likelihood of unemployment, reliance on social-welfare programs, and imprisonment.
Once a child actually enters the juvenile justice system, they encounter a complicated web of government agencies, nonprofits, attorneys, and even schools. Navigating the system is complicated; rehabilitating and exiting it is seemingly impossible. But there is hope.
One organization dedicated to the cause is a recent C3S.org client — the Center for Children’s Rights out of Jacksonville, Fl. Referring to themselves as “resilience navigators,” CCR uses coordinated care systems to connect children and families to the support and services they need. Providing wraparound legal counsel, a CCR attorney also provides ongoing advocacy at school meetings, IEPs, and any disciplinary hearings.
Solutions with C3S Software— From Pipeline to Lifeline
C3S’s care coordination systems offer a lifeline to anyone struggling with juvenile justice issues. Parents, children, teachers, school counselors, nonprofits, and even government agencies are more empowered when connected. Serving as a coordinated care network app, C3S App makes instant communication among multiple agencies possible.
Understanding ACEs is critical to impacting the school to prison pipeline, as trauma increases troubled behavior and imprisonment risk. A study published in 2014 revealed that out of the 64,329 juvenile offenders in the Florida system from 2007-2012, 90% reported at least two ACEs, 73% reported at least three ACEs, 52% reported at least four ACEs, and 32% reported five or more.
One of the most potent aspects of the C3S APP is the questions it asks to identify the underlying causes of behavior problems, such as ACEs (adverse childhood events). Each registered user must complete an AI-powered questionnaire when creating their profile, uncovering mental and physical health risks. In other words, C3S can connect people to services they might not even realize they need, such as counseling.
An essential first step is an awareness for everyone involved to ask, “What happened to you?” rather than “What is wrong with you?” With compassion and connection, the possibilities for reform are much more significant.