Addressing Invisible Barriers: Improving Outcomes for Youth with Disabilities In the Juvenile Justice System – Many factors affect juvenile justice outcomes. One factor all-too-infrequently addressed is disability, which can place youth at great risk for contact with the juvenile justice system, as well as for poor outcomes once they have come into contact with the juvenile justice system. National studies show that a minimum of 30% to 50% of youth involved in juvenile crimes has special needs (Rutherford, Bullis, Anderson, & Griller-Clark, this series). Unfortunately, many service providers within the juvenile justice system are not sufficiently aware, not trained, or lack the resources to respond appropriately to children and youth with cognitive, emotional, and behavioral disabilities. These disabilities place them at greater risk than their peers for school suspension, school dropout, substance abuse, arrest, restrictive placement, and recidivism (DeMilio, 1989; Lexcen & Redding, 1999; Prescott, 1998).