FLORIDA — Gov. Ron DeSantis signed another bill Thursday that aims to improve the outcome of children in the juvenile justice system.

Calling it a first-of-its-kind education system for juvenile justice-involved youth, Senate Bill 7014 will create the Florida Scholars Academy within the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.

What You Need To Know

  • Gov. Ron DeSantis signs bill creating Florida Scholars Academy in juvenile justice system

  • Youths in the system get help to attain diplomas or GEDs, industry credentials or post-secondary education

  • The program is designed to help participants have better futures moving forward

  • Previously, the school districts where the residential programs were located provided educational services

Serving as a national model, the school system will provide individualized educational pathways for youths in DJJ’s care to help them:

  • attain a high school or high school equivalency diploma
  • receive industry-recognized credentials
  • enroll in a postsecondary program of study at a Florida college, university, or technical college

“Providing youth with a high-quality education is the best public safety strategy we have, and the Florida Scholars Academy is going to redefine education for the students we serve and ensure the best possible outcomes for them as they work to achieve their academic goals,” said DJJ Secretary Eric Hall.

According to the Juvenile Justice Department, it served 2,388 youth between 2021 and 2022 across 44 department residential commitment programs.

Prior to SB 7014 passing,  the local school district where the residential program was located provided educational services. The Florida Scholars Academy will allow the department to contract for educational services on a statewide basis.