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1 Introduction to Nonsecure Settings Allie Woods, Rob Mayo, and Lauren Amos NDTAC.

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1 1 Introduction to Nonsecure Settings Allie Woods, Rob Mayo, and Lauren Amos NDTAC

2 2 Students considered to be at risk can receive educational services in community-based, nonrestrictive settings such as traditional public, public charter, or private schools. The setting may be within or outside the student’s neighborhood or home school district. All community-based schools need to be prepared to address the challenges these students face and to help them succeed. Community-Based Alternative Schools

3 3 It is important for community schools to assimilate students who are at risk into the school culture as quickly as possible while acknowledging the unique challenges they face. Although many youth residing in group homes receive their education in community-based schools, some attend schools on the grounds of the home.

4 4 Group homes may be private residences designed or converted to serve as nonsecure homes for unrelated youth who share common needs and characteristics. Attention to group homes typically focuses on youth in need of foster care. Youth in the juvenile justice system also may reside in group homes at some point during their involvement with the system. Group Homes

5 5 The academic needs of youth in group homes are not altogether different from those of students who are at risk in traditional community schools. When determining how best to address the academic, behavioral, and social needs of youth in group homes, providers should consider that they are isolated from peer groups, family members, and other caring adults and natural supports.

6 6 Day Treatment Centers In some ways, day treatment centers (DTCs), whether for youth in foster care or the juvenile justice system, are very similar to many alternative schools. Alternative schools may focus on students who experience discipline problems or serve gifted students. DTCs typically operate to serve students with mental health and/or behavioral needs that are not easily met by traditional community schools.

7 7 Day Treatment Centers Students may attend DTCs for various lengths of time to address both acute and chronic needs and may do so voluntarily or under order of a juvenile or family court. Treatment focuses on helping students overcome challenges and return to regular schools. Emphasis on treatment, especially an overemphasis, can pose a challenge to fostering educational success for students in these settings.

8 8 Day Treatment Centers Time in a DTC, although beneficial to the mental well-being of troubled youth, can disrupt their normal educational progress and separates them from their friends and peer groups. DTCs also place them in an environment with other troubled youth, which can have strong adverse effects. Youth who have attended DTCs may face the stigma of having a mental health need and teasing or bullying from peers once they return to a community school.

9 9 Resources Gonsoulin, S., Darwin, M. J., & Read, N. W. (2012). Providing Individually Tailored Academic and Behavioral Support Services for Youth in the Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Systems. Washington, DC: National Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center for Children and Youth Who Are Neglected, Delinquent, or At- Risk (NDTAC).

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