2015 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Christina Campbell

Christina Campbell

City, State: Los Angeles, California
Issue area: Children/Youth, Education/Special Education
Sponsors: Greenberg Traurig, LLP

The Project

Christina will protect the education rights of youth involved in the juvenile justice system in order to reduce recidivism and promote the successful reentry of youth into their home communities.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
Youth in the juvenile justice system disproportionately present with learning and mental health disabilities, and when detained, are often not afforded the educational services they need and to which they are entitled. Additionally, even when these youth receive the necessary services and have the opportunity to be academically successful in detention, that success is halted when they transition back into the community. In Los Angeles, youth continuously face difficulty with enrolling in schools as they transition back home; they are met with opposition and denied enrollment in high-achieving schools. As a result, without comprehensive legal advocacy, these transitioning youth will be unsuccessful in their reintegration and become more likely to engage in risky behavior, directly contributing to high recidivism rates.
The Right Person For This Project: 
Christina is the right person for the project because she:
• Successfully worked with juvenile justice-involved youth for over 8 years, as a mentor, tutor, advocate, and legal counsel
• Has direct experience working in the intersection between juvenile justice and education, including working as a full-time student advocate in a high school for detained youth
• Recognizes the alarmingly low graduation rate for court-involved youth and believes in innovative and comprehensive ways to change that statistic and promote better life opportunities for these youth
Plans For First Six Months of Fellowship: 
In the first six months, Christina will:
• Engage in discussion with community service providers and schools regarding establishing a network to assist court-involved youth with enrollment in Los Angeles
• Offer representation to youth transitioning back into local public schools as well as advocacy representation for youth currently detained
• Develop informative materials and establish community partnerships through which these materials may be distributed to court-involved youth and their families
• Conduct meetings and trainings both within detention settings and in the community to educate court-involved youth and their families about their education rights

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