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Education Advocacy

for At-Risk Youth

The Education Advocacy Program for At-Risk Youth seeks to promote school success and stability for youth who face abuse, neglect or delinquency with a special focus on youth in foster care. The program provides an advocate who creates and monitors educational plans, improves educational services, empowers and supports the youth, builds a supportive network in the school and increases the role of school as an anchor. In 2006, a statewide Interdepartmental Task Force on Service to At-Risk Youth Transitioning to Adulthood recommended SAC’s model to the Legislature. http://www.michigan.gov/documents/dhs/DHS-Boilerplate-Task-Force-At-Risk-Youth_174099_7.pdf

Eligibility

Washtenaw: The youth must be in out-of-home care and under the jurisdiction of the Washtenaw court due to neglect, abuse or delinquency or have an open Washtenaw County CPS Case. We work with children up to age 21, as long as they haven’t graduated high school and have a case open with DHHS. Referrals must come through DHS.

Wayne: Wayne County residents or court wards, ages 7-17, who are struggling with school suspension, expulsion and attendance and are at risk of coming into contact with the formal justice system. We prioritize students in foster care, particularly those in middle school. Please check in at danielle@studentadvocacycenter.org to see if we have openings. Referral forms can be downloaded here. Note: Services may take up to 7 days to begin, pending approval of an at-risk complaint from the court.

What does our advocate do?

  • Develops a relationship with the youth and become an expert in their educational needs.
  • Coordinates services with DHHS, youth, family, caseworkers and schools and build the student’s support system in the school.
  • Serves as an advocate in IEP meetings, disciplinary hearings, MDRs, behavior plan meetings, school staffings, etc.
  • Serves as advocate for obtaining and retaining needed education/support services, which is critical when placements change.
  • Assists with school enrollment, grade, course placement and school transportation.
  • Reviews case files of school-age youth in out-of-home placement.
  • Ensures evaluations of school-aged youth entering out-of-home placement for general and special education placement within 30 days of entry into foster care.
  • Ensures that services recommended as a result of the screening are secured.
  • Secures academic records, including IEP, and health records needed for school enrollment/re-enrollment.
  • Attends Family Court, Case Conferences and Team Meetings as needed to help keep a focus on education.
  • Summarizes and conferences with child welfare staff (and related professionals) concerning each youth’s educational needs.
  • Monitors youth’s academic progress through conferencing with the school, family and/or caseworker.
  • Coordinates other needed services, such as tutoring and credit recovery.

 

Contact

Washtenaw: Elizabeth Bowker
elizabeth@studentadvocacycenter.org
(734) 482-0489

Wayne: Danielle Flint
danielle@studentadvocacycenter.org

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