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Week in Review: September 12-16

Happy Friday to everyone joining in on the blog this week. We have a great piece of information from Disability Rights North Carolina and a few housekeeping items to share, so let's get started.

TIP OF THE WEEK - Disability Rights

Thank you to everyone who able to attend our joint CLE, School Obligations for Youth with Disabilities with Disability Rights NC last week. We know that court and life gets busy and that some defenders were unable to join and wanted to provide you with some resources.

Often our clients with disabilities have different plans such as Individualized Education Plans (IEP), 504 Plans, or Behavioral Modification Plans that schools prepare to address their disabilities and behaviors. These plans often set out steps to take if a child with a disability has a behavior or gets in trouble. It’s important for defenders to understand what disabilities our clients may have, what steps are needed to address their disabilities, and what to do if a proposed disposition plan may not effectively address these issues. For example, what do you do if your client’s IEP permits them to miss a class if they are unable to attend due to their disability, but the court order says they shall miss no classes? It’s important for defenders to have a knowledge of our client’s disabilities and how their school and educational environments are addressing them.

If you missed the School Obligations for Youth with Disabilities CLE, you can find it on our website in the Defender Portal. And if you have questions or need any assistance navigating the best way to address your client’s disability, our team is always willing to help, and Disability Rights NC are experts and are willing to help defenders out.

In fact, the Disability Right’s Education Team is currently working on a project that helps address some of these issues. They are seeking out cases and defenders to assist. They are working to identify BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) students with identified or suspected disabilities who have pending or recent juvenile court referrals. Their team will then review the student’s educational records and provide legal analysis of special education issues and disability-related information relevant to the client’s juvenile court case. For more information, please see the project description included below. If you have client who you feel may be appropriate, please contact Lena Welch ( ). And if you have questions in general, please reach out to them.

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1. Research study about juvenile defense attorneys’ strategies for mitigation: If you are a juvenile defense attorney in the United States and you speak English, you may be eligible to participate. You must be 18 years of age or older to participate.

If you have any questions, please contact Aliya Birnbaum at

If you would like to participate, you may click this link to be taken to the study: Thank you for considering participation in this study. This study has been approved by the Montclair State University Institutional Review Board, Study no. FY22-23-2627.

2. 2022 Youth Defender Leadership Summit

Register for Virtual Summit before the price increases!

The Early Bird minimum registration fee of just $75 for the 2022 Virtual Youth Defender Leadership Summit ends this Friday, September 16 at 5:00pm Eastern! After 5pm on Friday, the minimum registration fee will increase to $150.

If you would like to join the virtual programming of our first-ever hybrid Summit, please be sure to register this week!

This year's Summit will be held on Friday, October 14 and Saturday, October 15. And for the first time ever, we'll be convening our national community of youth defenders both in-person and virtually.

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