CCA provides legal education and training to youth up to age 24 involved in the justice system, young adults incarcerated in adult systems, and youth and young adults returning from incarceraton.
Many incarcerated young people struggle with diagnosed and undiagnosed, untreated mental illness, extensive trauma, involvement in other systems, and unsupported educational disabilities. CCA attorneys connect youth to appropriate services to mitigate collateral consequences.
CCA attorneys provide legal rights training and education to youth in confinement including:
- Explaining rights to accessing Employment and benefits with a record,
- Identification and driver’s license
- Mitigate barriers to justice involvement
- Accessing education while in confinement and upon re-entry
- Special education support
- School discipline issues
- Access to mental health care
- Access to appropriate education for students with liabilities
- Access to pathways for a diploma
- Higher rate of successful school re-entry
- Better access to necessary mental health services
- More community-based dispositions
- Higher rate of successful completion of probation
- Lower recidivism
Girls Juvenile Justice Project
An outgrowth of the Center’s juvenile justice work was the recognition that the needs of girls in the juvenile justice system were ignored. CCA formed the Girls Juvenile Justice Project to promote gender-responsive policies and practices and alternatives to incarceration. We helped secure legislation that requires gender-specific programming, development of a girls’ juvenile justice plan, and prevention of incarceration for status offenders.
Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities (RED)
The Center addresses the disproportionate rate at which Black and Latino youth are arrested in school, arrested in Department of Children and Families placements, suspended from school, and expelled through our Racial Justice Project.
Black and Latino youth are over-represented in the juvenile justice system and treated more punitively once involved with the system. CCA partnerships with state and local agencies push for changes to correct these inequities.
Community Re-Entry Assistance for Hartford, Bridgeport, New Haven, and Waterbury Youth
CCA is working closely with partners to identify services for youth including educational advocacy around schooling and training on legal rights as a service. The legal staff helps youth understand the collateral consequences a record may carry, provides help to erase or expunge records, helps youth get back into school, get a birth certificate, driver’s license or ID, re-enter DCF care, access benefits, and secure a job or vocational license.
Attorney Marisa Halm
Office: 860-570-5327 x228
Produced by Connecticut Public Broadcasting, the documentary examines the state’s alarming incarceration of children.
From the CPTV website: “For the first time in recent history, five states now spend more money on incarceration than education. Connecticut is one of those states.” The documentary includes interviews with Martha Stone, executive director of the Center for Children’s Advocacy.
Alicia B. Expulsion Complaint
Center for Children’s Advocacy, with co-counsel National Center for Youth Law and K&L Gates, filed Alicia B. vs. Malloy, challenging the inadequate education of Connecticut students who are expelled from school. Alicia B. represented two middle school students who effectively received no education during their expulsions, despite their rights under the state constitution. As a result of the litigation, the State passed legislation that required expelled students be educated in accordance with standards.
- Alicia B Expulsion Complaint (December 2015) Alicia B.; Tobias J., v. Governor Dannel Malloy; Dianna Wentzell, commissioner of the Sate Dept of Education; Allan Taylor, Chair, State Board of Education; Beth Schiavino-Narvaez, Superintendent, Hartford Board of Education; Matthew Geary, Superintendent, Manchester Board of Education; James Thompson, Jr., Superintendent, Bloomfield Board of Education.
- Alicia B. Settlement Agreement (July 2018): Improvements for Education for Expelled Students in Connecticut. As a result of the litigation, the State passed legislation that requires that expelled students be educated in accordance with standards developed to ensure educational progress, requires state-issued guidance and resources for school districts, and requires monitoring and addressing racial disparities in expulsions.
- Expulsion Guidance Issued as Result of Alicia B. Settlement, State Department of Education, clarifies circumstances under which a school district can expel a student, student must have sufficient notice that an offense may be expellable, procedures for expulsion hearings, right to request postponement, right to examine evidence and cross examine witnesses, provision allowing students to petition for early readmission, and guidance for students who move between school districts.
- Connecticut Department of Education Best Practices for students receiving alternative education as a result of expulsion. Guidance addresses program characteristics, academic and instructional supports, climate and culture, counseling and support services, responsibilities and training for educators, parent/guardian and family engagement, transition planning and support, and program evaluation. August 2018.
- Connecticut Department of Education Memo re Best Practices for students receiving alternative education, August 2018.
- Invisible Students: The Role of Alternative and Adult Education in the Connecticut School-to-Prison Pipeline, A Better Way Foundation, December 2011
Suspension and Expulsion
- State Board of Education: Position Statement on Reducing Disproportionality in Suspension and Expulsion (Exclusionary Discipline), February 2019
- CCA Public Comments Concerning Expelled Students submitted to the CT State Board of Education, Dec 6, 2017, concerning expelled students in Connecticut.
Conditions of Confinement
- Office of the Child Advocate Report on Conditions of Confinement for Connecticut Youth, OCA, Nov 2020 Executive Summary
- Office of the Child Advocate Report on Conditions of Confinement for Connecticut Youth, OCA, Jan 2019 Executive Summary
Dual Status Youth
- Intersection of Juvenile Justice and Child Protection: Dual Status Youth, Tow Youth Justice Initiative, 2018
- Addressing the Intersection of Juvenile Justice Involvement and Youth Homelessness: Principles for Change, Collaborating for Change, 2017
Girls and the Juvenile Justice System
- Girls and the Juvenile Justice System Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJPD), 2016
Nearly 30% of juvenile arrests are girls or young women, often girls of color and living in poverty. They are victims of violence, including physical and sexual abuse, and are typically nonviolent and pose little risk to public safety. Their involvement with the juvenile justice system usually does more harm than good.
Information for Parents of Youth who have been Arrested
- Stay Involved: Video for parents whose children have been arrested, CT Judicial Branch, 2015
- CCA Public Comments Concerning Expelled Students submitted to State Board of Education, December 6, 2017
- Educational Advocacy for Youth Ages 16 – 21
Presentation by Center for Children’s Advocacy attorneys Marisa Halm and Zoe Stout, December 2014
Legal Rights in Detention and Returning to the Community
- Legal Rights in Juvenile Detention
Written by the Center for Children’s Advocacy in collaboration with the Connecticut Judicial Branch: youths’ legal rights and the Responsibilities of the detention center.
- Flyers for Youth Leaving Lock-Up – How to Get Back into School
Life after Manson (ages 14-17)
Life after Manson (ages 18+)
- Connecticut Judicial Department, Court Support Services Division
Information for Parents and Guardians of Children in Short Term Detention
Understanding Juvenile Car Theft: A National Issue, Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance, February 2021