Sunday, July 30, 2006

This Week's News: 29 July, 2006

Foster Care

'Aging Out’ a Struggle as Some of Area’s Foster Youth Leave Home
The Western Star, OH - July 27, 2006
…In Ohio, about 1,200 children age out of foster care each year; including a handful from Warren County. When they do, they lose their state benefits and often have to get a job, health insurance and housing without the help of an adult. But many foster youth aren’t ready for that responsibility and struggle to make it on their own, according to a study released by Harvard Medical School late last year.

State Program Helps Foster Kids Transition into Adulthood
Helena Independent Record, MT – July 28, 2006
…“It used to be that when a foster child turned 18, they were given a stipend and shown the door,” Winters said. “This program provides a bridge from foster care to adulthood. It’s not intended to support foster youth. It’s to help them learn to support themselves.”

Foster Children Get Help Saving Money
Tampa Bay's 10, FL – July 29, 2006
Tampa, Florida - About 30 foster teenagers started learning the value of saving money today. They were taken to the Washington Mutual Bank on North Dale Mabry, where they made their first ever savings account deposit. It's part of a program called Eckerd Foundation's "Opportunity Passport", aimed at helping foster youth become economically self-sufficient.


New Standards to Improve Accuracy of Dropout Rates
Republican American, CT – July 23, 2006
…Depending on what figures you look at now, numbers for the national dropout rate for high school students are all over the place, varying by up to 20 percent based on some statistics, according to Jack Jennings, the president of the Center on Education Policy in Washington, D.C. Some say 10 percent of high school students drop out, while others says that number is closer to 30 percent.

Texas Receives Federal Grant to Help With Dropout Rate
Brownsville Herald, TX – July 28, 2006
The U.S. Department of Education on Wednesday awarded the Texas Education Agency a $2.5 million federal grant to help prevent at-risk students from dropping out. The money will be used to address the needs of students at risk of not completing high school as well as students that have already dropped out and are returning to school, the TEA reported.

Bredesen Says 5-year Schools Could Stem Dropouts
WBIR-TV – TN – July 30, 2006
Governor Bredesen says a five-year high school program that bundles together a diploma with a community college degree could help stem dropout rates. Bredesen, who is running for re-election this fall, says he would use his second term to explore creating the program. He says if students spent two years earning an associate's degree while still in high school, they would be much better prepared to enter the job market after graduation.

Juvenile Justice

At-Risk Youth Will be Focus of New County Group
Gazette.Net, MD - July 26, 2006
African Americans make up a disproportionate number of children in the county’s juvenile services and court systems, special education programs and on the roll of students in need of assistance. On Tuesday, county government, schools and law enforcement officials pledged to find out why by agreeing to form the Interdisciplinary Group on At-Risk Children.

Study: 1 In 3 Youth Arrested Are Girl, FL – July 26, 2006
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville police said they're seeing a growing trend of more and more female offenders who are not adult women but girls on the wrong side of the law. Drugs and robberies have become more commonplace with girls.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

This Week's News: 22 July, 2006


College Programs for Disadvantaged Youth Facing Tough Questions
The Oakland Tribune, CA – July 16, 2006
High-scoring, but low-income, high school sophomores can get a jump on college in the Pre-College Academy at the University of California, Berkeley. The six-week course provides classes in writing, advanced mathematics and an “enrichment” elective. The academy is funded by the state, the university and private foundations and the students pay nothing. Experts say such students aren’t as likely to go to college without extra help.

Program Readies Disabled Youth for College
Houston Chronicle, TX – July 17, 2006
College-bound students are seeking pointers on navigating wheelchairs over hilly terrain, finding note takers and deciding whether to “come out” to peers about less-obvious disabilities -- tips experts say are vital as college administrators face swelling numbers of disabled students. About 6 million Americans receive special education services, designated for students whose mental or physical limitation affects their learning, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

How to Close Academic Gap
The Free Lance-Star, VA - July 20, 2006
…Educators, parents and concerned residents met for the third in a series of events put on by the Coalition of Concerned Citizens, a consortium of Fredericksburg city and Spotsylvania and Stafford County schools, local churches, and civic organizations. The coalition's mission is to improve the academic achievement of African-American students.

Schools Pin Hopes on Early College Program
The Commercial Dispatch, MS - July 21, 2006
Columbus school officials hope an innovative program to give high school students an early introduction to college will keep them from dropping out and put more of them on the fast track to a post secondary degree. The early college and middle college program will offer Columbus High School students the chance to take college courses on the campuses of East Mississippi Community College and Mississippi University for Women while earning both high school and college credit.

Foster Care

Accord Hikes Foster Care Budget
Los Angeles Times, CA – July 18, 2006
SACRAMENTO — Assemblywoman Karen Bass, a Los Angeles Democrat, stood on a Capitol balcony several months ago talking about the plight of foster children, most of whom have been abused or neglected. Nearby, Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy, a Republican from Monrovia, happened to overhear. "We're the caregivers of these children," interjected Mountjoy, who is as conservative as Bass is liberal. "We ought to do the very best we can."

Now What?
Pasadena Weekly, CA - July 20, 2006
…Like thousands of young adults who grew up in the foster care and juvenile justice systems, Sqoll, David and JJ have no idea what the coming weeks will bring and have few, if any, realistic plans for how to get themselves out of homelessness and poverty.

LA May Try Prisoner-Child Reunions
Los Angeles Daily News, CA – July 22, 2006
Children in foster care with parents in prison will come under review this week by county officials who will consider developing a program to reunite the families when Mom's or Dad's sentence is over. Often these relationships become strained and severed, as families are separated in the public systems and in the hundreds of miles that can separate the prison walls and foster homes.

Juvenile Justice

Florida Justice System Harsher to Underage Girls, Study Finds
Orlando Sentinel, FL – July 19, 2006
Florida’s juvenile-justice system locks up a higher percentage of underage girls than 46 other states, hands out stiffer punishment to girls than boys and doesn’t provide the treatment girls need, according to a new report by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. On any given day, roughly 1,530 underage juvenile-delinquent girls are locked away in Florida, the report, released Tuesday, says. The study, the largest ever of an all-girl juvenile offender population, found many of Floridas treatment programs inadequate. “Girls programs are often boys programs painted pink,” the council’s president says. But girl offenders often have more emotional problems and, therefore, different treatment needs.

Juvenile Justice Workers Says Administration is Failing Kids
The Herald, CT – July 20, 2006
NEW BRITAIN - Connecticut juvenile justice employees issued failing grades Wednesday to the Rell administration. The governor and her juvenile justice director earned "F's" for their handling of juvenile justice issues within the Department of Children & Families.

Juvenile Justice Centers Aim for Treatment, Not Punishment, MI - July 22, 2006
GREEN OAK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — The W.J. Maxey School for Boys is all about second chances. One of 10 facilities operated by the state Bureau of Juvenile Justice, a branch of the Michigan Department of Human Services, its mission is to provide "treatment" for juvenile offenders. Programs like the roots music workshop that produced the song "Eddie's Choice" fit in with that mission, organizers and Maxey staff say.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

This Week's News: 15 July, 2006

Foster care

Foster Adoption Law Brings Success, Challenges (first of three parts)
The Beacon Journal, OH – July 8, 2006
When Congress approved the Adoption and Safe Families Act in 1997, it sought to rescue orphans who were lingering in the nation’s foster care system. Foster adoptions increased 64 percent nationwide, from 31,030 the year the law passed to 51,000 last year. They’re up 43.5 percent in Ohio, where 15,746 children have new parents. But for all the successes, there are challenges…

ROCHELLE RILEY: John Parks - In Between Foster Care and Hopes of Studying Nursing
Detroit Free Press, MI – July 10, 2006
John Parks is 20 years old. He's finishing up an internship. He's waiting to hear whether he has been accepted into Eastern Michigan University. And he is homeless. The State of Michigan, which had been his parent since he was 17, terminated his case two weeks ago on June 20, his 20th birthday

Foster Care Program Reauthorization Approved
This Week in Washington – July 11, 2006
On June 29, the House Ways and Means Committee approved the Child and Family Services Improvement Act of 2006, (
HR 5640) intended to bolster federal oversight of child foster care and renew child welfare programs. The bill would reauthorize the federal "Promoting Safe and Stable Families" program through 2011, the first reauthorization since 2001. The program distributes money to states to assist with child welfare investigations.

Fourth of the Series: Throwaway Kids
Pasadena Weekly, CA – July 13, 2006
Work on the street is that Brian Chytka, the 22-year-old homeless former foster youth whose story started off this series, has left Hollywood for San Francisco. There he is suffering from a staph infection and other potentially life-threatening health problems brought on by increased heroin use since speaking with the Weekly some two months ago.


8 ‘Pillars’ Hold Up Key Schools
The Indianapolis Star, IN - July 9, 2006
The walls lack a student-of-the-month plaque, an honor roll list and a trophy display case. Outside the classroom, you won't find any school group competing in sports or academic contests. Yet, students flock here every day, year-round. Dozens more are on a waiting list. Welcome to Key Learning Community, the first Indianapolis elementary school to rely on the multiple intelligence theory that learning can't always be measured by standardized tests.

Superintendent Hopes to Lower Dropout Rate
Terre Haute Tribune Star, IN - July 11, 2006
With the new school year, Superintendent Dan Tanoos plans to get personally involved in persuading students to stay in high school rather than drop out. “My intention is for myself personally to meet with every kid who’s going to drop out next year,” Tanoos told school board members Monday night. “I’m going to meet with every kid and every family.”

Keeping `Drop Outs' Dropping Back In
Kalamazoo Gazette, MI - July 13, 2006
Walking across the stage for high school graduation can be one of the most joyful times for students. Moms may cry, and dads may applaud as students finally grasp the diplomas many have always expected to receive. But this scenario might not always materialize for everyone.

Juvenile Justice

Life-Without-Parole Youth Terms Scrutinized
The Detroit News, MI – July 12, 2006
LANSING -- A United Nations panel is expected to start reviewing whether life-without-parole sentences for juveniles in Michigan and 41 other states violate an international treaty on human rights. Critics of Michigan's law will brief the U.N. Human Rights Committee later this week.

Keeping Watch Over Children in the System
The Washington Post, DC – July 13, 2006
Ginnie Volkman, a volunteer with the Court Appointed Special Advocate program, is very insistent that 6-year-old Darryl wear his new glasses. Darryl has a disorder called strabismus. But his mother, a former substance abuser on public assistance, neglected to get her son glasses -- landing her in Alexandria’s juvenile court system for medical neglect. Volkman has interviewed Darryl’s eye doctor and researched the condition extensively. Volkman does all of this in her spare time -- without being paid. CASA was started in Seattle in the 1970s by a juvenile court judge who felt he wasn’t getting enough information about the children he evaluated.

Leaders, Parents Discuss Juvenile Justice Issues
Mohave Valley News, NV – July 13, 2006
LAUGHLIN - If a juvenile is convicted of a crime, should he or she be punished in the same manner as an adult? Community leaders and local parents acknowledged that there are no easy answers to the dilemmas currently facing the juvenile justice system in a seminar Wednesday at the Laughlin Bay Marina.

State, Nonprofit Reach Settlement Over Juvenile Justice Reforms
San Jose Mercury, CA – July 14, 2006
SACRAMENTO - California will have to revamp the way it incarcerates juvenile offenders by using smaller and more modern lockups to replace the warehouse-style prisons it currently uses, according to a court-mandated report from the state corrections department. The report marks a compromise between the state and a nonprofit legal center and is the latest indication of how attempts to solve systematic problems in the state's corrections department will end up costing California taxpayers. The state already faces hundreds of millions of dollars in additional costs to reform its adult prison system and the way it manages inmate health care.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

This Week's News: 9 July, 2006

Foster Care

Schools at Group Homes Assailed
The Sacramento Bee, CA – July 3, 2006
A family of foster children has taken the state Department of Education to court in a case that could force broad changes in the way California educates thousands of youngsters living in group homes. The federal suit, filed last week in Los Angeles, contends the department has acknowledged but hasn't stopped the isolation of foster children in nonpublic schools geared to the most disabled, therefore hobbling their education and social development.

Giving Voice to Parents’ Side of Child Welfare
Los Angeles Times, CA – July 3, 2006
One day, Philneia Timmons sat down and wrote the whole, true story of why the state took her two children away. Even more remarkably, Timmons published her story -- in an unusual journal called Rise, written by and for parents who have been drawn into New York’s child-welfare system. “If you have a closed mind,” she said, “you would think I was a horrible parent.” But she knows what a difference it would have made, during those awful weeks after her children were removed, if she had gotten to read other mothers’ stories.

To Find a Way Home
San Francisco Chronicle, CA - July 7, 2006
WHEN OLDER children enter foster care, they are most at risk for emancipating out of the system without ever finding a stable home, or an adult with whom they can have a permanent relationship. These are the youth who often face homelessness, incarceration and unemployment once they are on their own at 18.


Drop Out Rates Higher than State Reported
Daily Press, CA – July 5, 2006
VICTORVILLE — California's flawed tracking system of high school drop-outs was brought to light in a new report by Education Week. It shows the system inaccurately tracks students, leaving the state with lower numbers to report.

Family-Like Program Opens Brave New Chapter for Black L.A. Students
Los Angeles Times, CA – July 6, 2006
A program created three years ago by African American faculty at Cleveland High, in Reseda, Calif., caused some controversy because it was aimed only at black students. Called the Village, the program focuses on forging personal connections with students in a communal setting that epitomizes the African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child.”

Conclusions Vary in Debate Over High School Exit Exams
AACRAO Transcript, DC - July 6, 2006
States that have adopted a high school exit exam have an increased percentage of drop outs, according to a working paper. Thomas Dee, professor at Swarthmore College, and Brian Jacob, professor at Harvard, report that students in states with relatively easy exit exams are roughly 4 percent more likely to drop out of high school than similar students in states with no exams. The percentage rises to 5.5 percent in states with more difficult exit exams. These effects are stronger among African-American men, they found, but the results were strongly positive for native-born Hispanic women.

Dropouts Must Acknowledge Chance of Bleak Future
Terre Haute Tribune Star, IN – July 8, 2006
Students who want to drop out of high school before age 18 must acknowledge in writing that it is likely to reduce future earnings and increase the likelihood of unemployment. That requirement is part of a new state law that took effect July 1. Now, the Vigo County School Corp. must update its policy on student withdrawal to include the new language. The new law, which includes many other components, is aimed at making it more difficult for students to withdraw before age 18.

Juvenile Justice

PCSO STAR Program Launched July 1
The Lake Wales News, FL – July 7, 2006
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice have reached a contract agreement today to operate a juvenile “STAR” program in Polk County. “STAR” stands for Sheriff’s Training And Respect.” The Sheriff’s Office formerly operated a juvenile boot camp.

Appeals Court Rejects Challenge to Juvenile Court Secrecy
WKYT 27, KY – July 8, 2006
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky's juvenile court proceedings and records may remain secret, a federal appeals court ruled Friday. The three-judge panel from the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati turned away an attempt by the Kentucky Press Association to open juvenile proceedings to the public. The ruling upheld a February 2005 decision by U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Hood, who dismissed the press association's lawsuit against the Kentucky courts.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

This Week's News: 2 July, 2006

Foster Care

Foster Care Transitioning Focus of Yearlong NGA Policy Academy
National Governor’s Association - June 23, 2006
... Each year, approximately 20,000 youth transition out of foster care. Whether they return to their families or gain independence, their passage into adulthood is often difficult and troubled. Without support, many young adults experience substance abuse and mental illness, encounters with the criminal justice system, homelessness, suicide, teen pregnancy and early parenthood. About half drop out of high school and are ill-prepared to secure and retain employment and become self-supporting.

Strayhorn: More Dying in Foster Care
The Dallas Morning News, TX – June 24, 2006
AUSTIN – An alarming number of Texas children die in foster care, Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn said Friday. Foster children were four times more likely to die than children in the state's general population in 2003, Mrs. Strayhorn said.

Foster Parents Seek Clout of the Collective
Los Angeles Times, CA – June 26, 2006
Washington could become the first state with a union for the caregivers. But critics say such a change would spoil the system's spirit.

Youth and Poverty

Fewer Teens Have Babies or Dropout, but More Live in Poverty
USA Today – June 27, 2006
A report released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation charity finds that measures of health and income for children and teens are no longer improving as much as they did in the 1990s. Instead, children are “treading water,” said foundation President Doug Nelson. The findings were released Tuesday as part of the annual Kids Count report on the health and well-being of children and teens.

Study: Unemployment in State Hurting Kids
The Indianapolis Star, IN – June 27, 2006
A third of Indiana's children live in families where no parent has a full-time job, setting them up for problems ranging from educational struggles to poor health, according to a national report.


States Work to Narrow Teacher Equity Gap – June 23, 2006
For the first time, the federal government is demanding that more of a state's best teachers work at its poorest, mostly minority schools. In two weeks, states must submit a plan to eliminate disparities, such as in Ohio, where one of every eight teachers in its poorest elementary schools is not rated highly qualified compared to one in 67 in its richest schools.

Exit Exam Not the End for High School Seniors
Los Angeles Times, CA – June 25, 2006
Community colleges have long offered a second chance to students with lofty ambitions but lousy high school grades. Now many two-year colleges are trying to attract a new group seeking a fresh start: seniors leaving high school this month without diplomas because they couldn't pass California's new exit exam.

Study Casts Doubt On the ‘Boy Crisis’
The Washington Post, DC – June 26, 2006
A study to be released today looking at long-term trends in test scores and academic success argues that widespread reports of U.S. boys being in crisis are greatly overstated and that young males in school are in many ways doing better than ever. Using data compiled from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a federally funded accounting of student achievement since 1971, the think tank Education Sector found that, over the past three decades, boys’ test scores are mostly up, more boys are going to college and more are getting bachelor’s degrees.

Wanted: Hispanic Students; Colleges Stepping up Efforts to Recruit Hispanics
The Telegraph, GA – June 28, 2006
Georgia College & State University leaders want to say "hola" to many more Hispanic students in the future. With the help of a $700,000 gift this month, the college plans to hire a bilingual recruiter to help bring in more Hispanic students to the college

School District Plans Residence for Homeless Students
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, MO – June 28, 2006
For six years, Superintendent Linda Henke has watched homeless students struggle to attend Maplewood-Richmond Heights High School. Some miss class for a few days. Some never come back. Now, in what may be a first for a U.S. public school district, Henke is looking to open a group home and get homeless students to school each morning, homework each afternoon and family dinners nightly.

A Path from a ‘Dropout Factory’ to UC Berkeley
Los Angeles Times, CA – June 29, 2006
... Four years ago, when Luz Elena was a freshman, Fremont was labeled "a dropout factory" by a national study. Its dismal test scores have begun creeping up, but are still among the district's worst. The aging campus at 76th and San Pedro streets sits in one of South Los Angeles' poorest neighborhoods. Almost 90% of students are Latino and more than one-third are new immigrants, still learning English.

For Many, Graduation Day Is No Celebration
The Star-Ledger, NJ – June 29, 2006
Nearly 400 graduates of Paterson’s John F. Kennedy High School marched into their commencement last week in single file, many of them poor, most from immigrant families, all of them celebrating, but at least half of the original freshman class -- perhaps as many as 400 students -- had simply disappeared from the high school scene. New Jersey boasts the highest graduation rate in the country, at better than 84 percent, according to a new report that put the national average at 69 percent.

13% of State Students Projected to Drop Out
The Birmingham News, AL – June 29, 2006
MONTGOMERY - Thirteen of every 100 Alabama high school students are likely to drop out before reaching their graduation dates, according to the latest state figures. Across the state, those numbers vary widely. At Anniston High School, 37.14 percent of students are projected to drop out. On the other end of the spectrum are the Alabama School of Fine Arts, where no students are projected to drop out, and Mountain Brook High School, where the projection is 0.73 percent.

Juvenile Justice

Editorial: Juvenile Justice, FL - June 27, 2006
ISSUE: L.G. is pregnant again, but this time her day in court could put her behind bars. There's something wrong when a judge has to detain a pregnant teenager by sending her to a heavily guarded, high-risk, juvenile detention facility.

Officials Await Results of Juvenile Justice Bill, KS - June 28, 2006
Rep. Melody McCray-Miller celebrated when a bill she pushed requiring Kansas's juvenile justice system to reduce racial, geographic and other biases became law in May. The real celebration will come, the Wichita Democrat said, once black and Hispanic youths' presence in the system decreases.

Juvenile Justice Rally
Sacramento Bee, CA - June 30, 2006
Family members and friends of youths who have died while at California Youth Authority facilities rally Thursday at the Capitol. The group, Books not Bars, supports four bills in the Legislature sponsored by Sen. Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, and Sen. Mike Machado, D-Linden, that are designed to overhaul the state's juvenile corrections system.