Career Education for Youth in Juvenile Justice Programs
Local school districts in Florida are responsible for the delivery of education in state-run juvenile justice facilities located in their counties. The educational programming available must meet students’ needs and may include career and professional education (“CAPE”) courses and related services which support transition goals and reentry. The law requires that prevention and day treatment juvenile justice education programs provide, at a minimum, career readiness and exploration opportunities. Residential juvenile justice education programs with a contracted minimum length of stay of 9 months must provide CAPE courses that lead to pre-apprentice certifications and industry certifications.
Programs with contracted lengths of stay of less than 9 months may, but are not required to, provide career education courses that lead to pre-apprentice certifications and CAPE industry certifications. If the duration of a program is less than 40 days, the educational component may be limited to tutorial remediation activities, career employability skills instruction, education counseling, and transition services that prepare students for a return to school, the community, and their home settings based on the students’ needs. Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1003.52(5) (2016).
Florida law further mandates that the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Department of Education establish curriculum, goals, and outcome measures for CAPE programs in juvenile justice education programs, to be reviewed annually. The plan must include, among other things, provisions for eliminating barriers to increasing occupation-specific job training and high school equivalency examination preparation opportunities; definitions of appropriate CAPE programming, based on the age and abilities of the students served and typical length of stay at the juvenile justice education program; strategies to facilitate involvement of business and industry in the design, delivery, and evaluation of CAPE programming in juvenile justice education programs, including apprenticeship and work experience programs, mentoring and job shadowing, and other strategies that lead to post-release employment; the effect of students' mobility between juvenile justice education programs and school districts on the students' educational outcomes. Fla. Stat. Ann. § 985.622 (2016).