Virginia Commission on Youth Accepting Public Comment on Draft Recommendations

November 6, 2020

The Virginia Commission on Youth is concluding two studies and seeking public comment on proposed recommendations.

The first study examined the potential benefits and drawbacks of establishing guardianship of a minor by court petition as a legal arrangement that could assist in supporting relatives or other caregivers in providing care for children who otherwise may be placed in foster care. Proponents of such arrangements contend that they allow a caregiver (often a grandparent or other relative) to make certain decisions on behalf of the child, such as school enrollment, without the formality of obtaining permanent custody of the child. The workgroup that was convened to discuss the issue did not reach consensus on pursuing changes to Virginia’s system; one of the proposed recommendations is the convening of a new study group that would include members of the family bar and representatives of the judiciary in addition to other interested parties.

The full list of recommendations from the guardianship study may be found at this link: http://vcoy.virginia.gov/Study%20on%20Legal%20Guardianship%20draft%20recommendations%20for%20COY%202020.pdf.

The second study reviewed the delivery of education in juvenile detention centers, with an eye towards potential cost savings and economies of scale as the population of children in juvenile detention centers has declined in recent years. However, the provision of education in these centers can be challenging, as the youth served vary considerably in their educational backgrounds and time spent in the facilities, and may have extensive educational and emotional needs. The workgroup proposed 11 recommendations, including updating student/teacher ratio requirements, examining potential cost savings from the use of part-time teachers and administrators or teachers with license endorsements in multiple subject areas, and requiring school boards to provide for seamless transitions back to local school divisions for children returning from juvenile detention centers.

The full list of recommendations from this study may be found at this link: http://vcoy.virginia.gov/Study%20on%20Education%20in%20Local%20Detention%20Centers%20draft%20recommendations%20for%20COY%202020.pdf

Public comment must be received by 5p.m. Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Comments may be submitted by email to Executive Director Amy Atkinson at aatkinson@vcoy.virginia.gov. Comments may also be submitted via postal mail to the Commission on Youth, 900 E. Main Street, Floor 11, Richmond, VA 23219, or faxed to 804.371.0574.

Public comment received by the deadline will be considered at the Commission’s December 9 meeting.

VACo Contacts: Katie Boyle and Jeremy Bennett

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