Know Your Rights

Know your rights and be a powerful advocate for young people who need help! Most of our resources are designed for youth, parents, caregivers, adult allies, or community partners.

If you are interested in a community training on any of these issues, check out our training & consulting page or contact your local TeamChild office to tell us what you need.

EDUCATION

Need advice on School Discipline? Special Education? Truancy?

La educación tras el COVID-19 Manual para Conocer sus derechos (2020)

Si está interesado en obtener más información sobre los derechos de educación durante Covid-19, siga este enlace para acceder a La educación tras el COVID-19 Manual para Conocer sus derechos. Formatos y Ejemplos (Enero, 2021)

Última revisión Octubre – 2020

Education in the wake of COVID-19 Know Your Rights Manual (2020)

TeamChild staff members created this Education in the wake of COVID19 Know Your Rights Manual (updated October, 2020) to address some of the new difficulties youth and families face because of the changes in circumstances surrounding education due to COVID-19. Topics include Attendance & Truancy during School Closures, Grading, Technology Access, Students Disciplined before Crisis, Students Experiencing Homelessness, Special Education – Following IEPs, Special Education – Temporary Changes, English Language Learners (ELL) and Supporting Non-English Speaking Families. An Appendix of Forms and Samples (November, 2020) provides tools for youth and families to communicate directly with their school or district office.

Please note that things are changing rapidly during this time of uncertainty, and this manual may be updated and new issues may be added to address what communities are facing.

Education Advocacy Manual (2016)

TeamChild collaborated with Casey Family Programs, the state and National CASA programs, and Treehouse to publish a comprehensive Education Advocacy Manual. This manual is available electronically to anyone in Washington State, free of charge, and has helped many advocates and caregivers be better advocates for their child’s education.

While there is a special focus on the needs of foster children in the manual, the comprehensive information may be helpful to anyone who wishes to advocate for a child’s education. Included are chapters covering basic education rights, special education law, discipline, and resources for young people transitioning to adulthood. Also included is an extensive resource guide with links to Washington State and federal education law.

Discipline in Public Schools (October 2016)

This publication provides information about the ways that a school district can respond to student behaviors in schools. It includes tools for you to challenge discipline when it’s not fair or right for the young person you are advocating for. TeamChild worked with the Office of the Education Ombudsman (OEO) to adapt our education advocacy training materials into a series of handbooks – What Every Parent Needs to Know – available in Spanish and English on the OEO website. Thanks to OEO for updating these resources!

Reengagement Meetings - Tips for Families, Students, and Educators (October 2016)

TeamChild collaborated with Sound Discipline and the Office of Education Ombuds (OEO) to describe what happens after a student is long-term suspended or expelled (based on nbew school discipline laws in Washington State.) The tips and sample meeting template help families, students and educators prepare for and ensure a successful re-engagement meeting to problem solve disciplinary matters. You also can find this and other resources on the OEO’s Suspension, Expulsions, and Discipline page.

Basic Education Rights and Opportunities in Public Schools (January 2015)

Education is a basic, constitutional right in Washington. Students have certain rights and responsibilities, and school districts have specific duties. This publication provides information on these and other basic educational rights to help you advocate for students ensuring they get the best possible education. TeamChild worked with the Office of the Education Ombudsman (OEO) to adapt our education advocacy training materials into a series of handbooks – What Every Parent Needs to Know – available in Spanish and English on the OEO website. Thanks to OEO for updating these resources!

How To Be An Education Advocate (January 2015)

Family involvement in education means the active participation of families, legal guardians and caring adults in their children’s school lives. This publication gives you tools to become an advocate and active participant in your student’s education to ensure their success in school. TeamChild worked with the Office of the Education Ombudsman (OEO) to adapt our education advocacy training materials into a series of handbooks – What Every Parent Needs to Know – available in Spanish and English on the OEO website. Thanks to OEO for updating these resources!

Protecting the Educational Rights of Students with Disabilities in Public Schools (January 2015)

All children and youth between the ages of 3 and 21 who have an impairment that interferes with their ability to learn can be eligible for additional support and services to help them achieve a meaningful education. Students receiving special education services also have additional, extensive rights that protect them in discipline situations. This publication describes those rights and gives you tools to become an advocate and active participant in your student’s education to ensure their success in school. TeamChild worked with the Office of the Education Ombudsman (OEO) to adapt our education advocacy training materials into a series of handbooks – What Every Parent Needs to Know – available in Spanish and English on the OEO website. Thanks to OEO for updating these resources!

Defending Youth in Truancy Hearings (2008)

TeamChild and the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington State released this manual in 2008. It is intended to be a resource for attorneys, but it provides information on truancy and education law in Washington State that may be helpful for the general public.

EMANCIPATION

What is Emancipation?

Emancipation is a process that allows a teenager under the age of 18 (but older than 16) to have the rights and responsibilities of an adult under the law. Our Spokane office partnered with Spokane County Juvenile Court to update a packet providing basic information on how to file for emancipation – Spokane Emancipation Packet (PDF).

Other Emancipation Resources

You can find other emancipation resources on the Washington Law Help website

HEALTH & WELLNESS

How do I access public general or mental healthcare?

Mental Health Rights

Check out these know your rights resources created through our Wellness Project, a targeted effort managed by our Pierce County office. They are meant to help youth and families understand and exercise their rights to timely, meaningful, and appropriate mental health care in the community. Thanks to Northwest Justice Project for helping us create the Public Mental Healthcare for Washington Youth (video)
Available in English or Espanol.

General Healthcare Rights

Here is another community awareness video that TeamChild produced with Northwest Justice Project: Public Healthcare for Children and Youth in Washington State (video) Available in English or Espanol.

JUVENILE JUSTICE

Stopped by the police?

Adapted from our graphic guide on the juvenile justice system, this 5 minute video (2013) helps teenagers understand their rights when they are stopped by the police. This video was supported by the Northwest Justice Project and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Models for Change Initiative. Available in English or Espanol.

Charged with a crime?

Adapted from our graphic guide on the juvenile justice system, this 5 minute video (2013) helps teenagers understand their rights when they are charged with a crime. This video was supported by the Northwest Justice Project and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Models for Change Initiative. Available in English or Espanol.

Washington Judicial Colloquies: A Guide for Improving Communication and Understanding in Juvenile Court (October 2012)

This user-friendly tool is designed for judges. The sample language is written at an elementary school level with the goal of increasing a youth’s understanding of court processes and orders. A Do’s and Don’ts form can easily be tailored by practitioners to include local practices.

Juvenile Law Update (July 2019)

These materials on the Washington State Office of Public Defense website are from a Juvenile Law Update CLE held at Seattle University on July 19-20, 2019.

RECORD SEALING

How can I seal my juvenile record?

Visit our Record Sealing page for resources.

RE-ENTRY & TRANSITIONS

Re-Entry and Trainsitions Resources

Have a Juvenile Record? Plan For Your Future! This Washington state Guide to Collateral Consequences of Juvenile Court Involvement was produced by the National Juvenile Defender Center, with the assistance of of TeamChild, The Annie E. Casey Foundation – Youth Advisory Council, and Immigrant Legal Resource Center.

Am I eligible to vote?

Are you eligible to vote? Did you know that juvenile offenders – even those who are locked up for juvenile court offenses – have the right to vote? In Washington State, as long as you’re an eligible voter, you have the right to register to vote and then to vote in any election. Learn more in these Voting Rights flyers for Youth in Juvenile Rehabilitation (JR) Institutions.

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