Young People Make History Earning Bachelors at Juvenile Rehabilitation Facility

June 21, 2024

The Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) celebrated the first cohort of young people to earn their bachelor’s degree while at a juvenile rehabilitation (JR) facility.
Caya, Guillermo, Blake, Mondrell, and La’Kendrick joined six others who received college degrees from Centralia Community College at the June 18 ceremony hosted at Green Hill School (GHS) in Chehalis.
Since the passage of JR to 25, which allowed young people sentenced in adult court for crimes committed under age 18 to serve their sentence at a JR facility until age of 25, DCYF partnered with Centralia Community College to begin offering more programs that offer access to higher education and support future planning.
“These graduates have not just earned degrees; they've gained tools to rewrite their life stories,” said DCYF’s Assistant Secretary of Juvenile Rehabilitation Felice Upton. “It proves that with the right opportunities, transformation is possible.”
This academic year, 28 young people earned a college degree, 16 earned a high school diploma, and another 16 obtained their General Educational Development (GED) while at GHS and Echo Glen Children’s Center in Snoqualmie.
“If you would have told me before I got locked up that I would be going to college, I would have laughed,” said Caya, who is the first in their family to earn a college degree. “Now, thanks to Green Hill and everyone who has supported me, I have taken advantage of this opportunity and am now one step closer to achieving my goals.”