The LEAP Project: A Juvenile Reentry Initiative in Washington State

Youth involved in the juvenile justice system in Washington State face significant barriers, especially as they are returning to the community from detention or longer-term incarceration at a juvenile rehabilitation facility. It is not unusual for these youth to face ongoing challenges in many aspects of their lives – at home, in their neighborhoods, and at school. From 2010-2012, with a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Washington’s Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration (JRA) formed a multi-disciplinary partnership with community organizations in King County. The project was called LEAP – Learning/ Employment / Achieving / Potential – and was a juvenile offender reentry initiative that connected youth to education and employment after they were released from incarceration. LEAP was a working collaborative of youth services that provided educational, employment, outreach, and mentoring resources to King County youth released from the county juvenile detention center or a state Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration facility.

Training and technical assistance pieces were developed for all grant partners and to raise community awareness about the barriers facing youth returning from incarceration. This toolkit package, companion presentations, and best practice series discuss the major challenges faced by youth, highlight the services offered by LEAP partners to mitigate and break down reentry barriers, and share lessons learned in promoting the success of young people involved in the LEAP program.

Youth Development & Keeping Our Communities Safe

Toolkits for Washington:

Reentry Toolkit

  • Housing
  • Education
  • Continuity of Health Care

Employer Toolkit

  • Why Employ Juvenile Justice Youth
  • Financial Incentives
  • Interviews
  • General Info about Youth Employment

Education Toolkit

  • School Records: Getting More Information about the Educational Needs of Juvenile Justice Involved Youth
  • Educational Services while Incarcerated
  • Enrollment and Transition after Release from Incarceration
  • Attendance and Truancy
  • Special Education Services under IDEA and Section 504
  • School Discipline
  • Checklist of Key Education Advocacy Activities for Juvenile Justice Professionals
  • Sample Records Request
  • Sample Referral for Special Education
  • Sample Request for Discipline Appeal

Special Education Transition Planning Toolkit

  • Transition
  • Special Education Law and Transition Planning for Youth with Disabilities
  • Leveraging Partnerships to Support Youth with Multiple Barriers
  • Tapping into Community-Based Support for Independent Living, Social & Emotional Needs, and Employment

Companion Presentations:



Barriers to Education:

LEAP Community Awareness

Best Practice Reports:

Companion Presentations:

Mental Health and Substance Abuse:

Additional Resources



Mental Health and Substance Abuse: