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By David Madden

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – There’s a new program to assist young people in Camden and Atlantic Counties who run afoul of the law. This addresses not their legal, but educational rights, as they make their way through the system.

There are just a handful of lawyers handling pro bono work for the South Jersey Educational Reentry Program. But they’ll also team with law school students out of Rutgers-Camden.

Their mission is to make sure kids are placed in the proper educational setting for their needs not just thrown somewhere by a school administrator.

“Public defenders represent youth in the criminal matter. Educational matters really go out of a public defender’s job duties. So we’re there to fill that void.” says Matthew Sykes. He runs the program through the Washington-based Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Those aged 13 to 19 can take part in this pilot program that Sykes suggests might go statewide, if it works locally. There’s a toll free referral hotline: 888-675-7810.

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