Friday, August 25, 2006

This Week's News: 25 August 2006


Grants reward problem-tacklers
July 20, 2006 - Mercury News
Two directors of South Bay social programs are among the inaugural winners of the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award, an unrestricted $125,000 grant designed to recognize and support the most innovative community work in the state.

Eric Weaver, 42, founder of Lenders for Community Development, and James Bell, 52, of the W. Haywood Burns Institute, were among seven winners chosen from more than 475 nominees statewide.

A Former Jail Guard Helps Ex-Prisoners Move Back Into Society
August 3, 2006 issue – The Chronicle of Philanthropy
It is just before 4 on a Monday morning, and the 2700 block of Baltimore's East Madison Street is dark and forbidding, dotted with boarded-up houses. Homes that remain occupied sport "no loitering" signs, adding to the scene's desolation. But in a matter of minutes, the street teems with life: Some 15 men recently released from prison pour out of two buildings and head across the street to the God Is in Reach Transitional House.

Lacking Detention Center, Suffolk Ships Out Juveniles
August 22, 2006 - The New York Times
When the Suffolk County judge orders a 14-year-old runaway held until her next hearing, three days hence, she is sent to the juvenile detention center in neighboring Nassau County -- becoming another one of the hundreds of Long Island youths shipped out of Suffolk every year to detention centers in Nassau, the Bronx and as far away as Syracuse and Buffalo.


Young Adults Must Find Way After Foster Care
August 20, 2006 - (Cleveland, Ohio) The Plain Dealer
Every year, about 20,000 youngsters across the country "age out" of foster care, the surrogate system that looks after children removed from their families, usually because of abuse or neglect.


College Uncertain for Kids Here Illegally: Voters to decide if in-state tuition will apply
August 19, 2006 - Tucson (Ariz.) Citizen
Whose responsibility are they? Children who were brought into the United States illegally, grew up in Tucson, graduated from public schools and aspire to attend college would no longer qualify for in-state tuition at Arizona’s colleges and universities if Proposition 300 passes in November.

Program targets those at risk of not finishing school in 4 years
August 18, 2006 - Chattanooga (Tenn.) Times Free Press
Just a week into his new job as Dade High School’s graduation coach, Byron Ballard got a visit from a girl who hadn’t managed to earn a single credit during her first year of high school.


New Year, New School Concepts in New Orleans
August 26, 2006 edition - The Christian Science Monitor
Katrina's devastation created an opportunity to reconceive a poor system. Charter schools, student input, hope – and controversy – are hallmarks of the one that's emerging.

Monday, August 21, 2006

This Week's News: 21 August 2006

Foster Care

Gay Foster Families Sought
Houston Chronicle, TX – August 14, 2006
A Houston gay advocacy organization has drafted a plan to save gay youths from the streets. The idea -- to recruit gay and gay-friendly parents to the foster care system -- comes amid debates about caregiving by gays and lesbians. At least one state, Florida, outlaws adoption by this segment of the population, and others, including Texas, recently debated stopping them from serving as foster parents. At the same time, gay rights groups say they’ve seen an increased push by some child welfare agencies, including ones in New York City and Philadelphia, to recruit gay-friendly foster parents for gay, lesbian and transgender teenagers.

Foster Parents Getting Organized
USA Today – August 14, 2006
... The Baxters and others, convinced that Washington state's foster-care system is "in crisis," are forming the nation's first union representing foster parents to gain more clout with state agencies. By January, organizers expect to have a proposal before the Legislature, which must approve any new group of unionized state employees.

State Warned About Foster System
Las Vegas Review-Journal, NV – August 17, 2006
... Conditions for foster children in Clark County have "worsened" since federal officials examined the county's child welfare system in February 2004, stated the letter from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families. Federal officials also noted that the Clark County Department of Family Services violates its own policies by frequently keeping children at Child Haven for longer than a month.


Some Closing the Gap
Rocky Mountain News, CO – August 14, 2006
Students in a few schools across Denver are turning traditional achievement gaps upside down, with Hispanic and black children performing as well as - and in some cases, better than - their white classmates on state reading and math exams.

Black Dads Step Up in Schools with Million Fathers March
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, GA – August 14, 2006
First, there was the Million Man March in 1995, encouraging African-American men to step up in their responsibilities to their families and community. Now, African-American men are again being encouraged to step up, but with a different twist — helping children do better in school. The Million Fathers March, held for the first time in Atlanta, was organized to get black fathers across the nation more actively involved in their children's learning.

Minority Students Decline in Top New York Schools
The New York Times, NY – August 18, 2006
More than a decade after the city created a special institute to prepare black and Hispanic students for the mind-bendingly difficult test that determines who gets into New York’s three most elite specialized high schools, the percentage of such students has not only failed to rise, it has declined.

Juvenile Justice

New Juvenile Hall Delivers A Message
The Mercury News, CA – July 30, 2006
New architecture for juvenile justice is nearing completion in the foothills of San Mateo County -- designed to give young offenders the support they need to turn away from crime and thrive. At the county's new $148 million youth services complex, the premise is treatment, not punishment, and the message is delivered in the very walls: soothing pastels to calm testy moods, skylights letting in swaths of sunlight and open space for stretching growing muscles.

Costa Mesa Mom Helps Parents Keep Kids From Gangs
Orange County Register, CA – August 15, 2006
It's a quiet day at the Save Our Youth (SOY) center in Costa Mesa, so there are just a couple dozen teens hanging out, but Carmen Barrios makes sure to check every corner – from the weight room to the basketball courts to the music room – to make sure her charges aren't up to trouble.

Youth Leadership

Portland Children Write Own Bill of Rights
The Oregonian, OR - August 16, 2006
Portland will soon become the first major U.S. city to have a children's bill of rights written by the very people it affects. City Council members will vote today to accept the result of a year and a half of work by dozens of Portland children. The document is a no-surprises list of fundamental needs and philosophies any parent or compassionate adult could support, such as the notion that all children should have clothing, a solid roof over their heads and adequate health care.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

This Week's News: 13 August, 2006

Foster Care

The State’s Forgotten Children
Milford Daily News, MA – August 6, 2006
But for many young adults, the scariest and most dangerous part of the foster care experience is the end, when they leave state custody and have to fend for themselves. Every year, researchers believe 600 or so Massachusetts residents "age out" of the foster care system.

Study: Dozens of Children Placed in Foster Care Return to Families
The Belleville News-Democrat, IL – August 6, 2006
A recent survey of 386 foster teens by the University of Chicago Chapin Hall Center for Children found that 106 chose to leave the system, with more than a third of those teens moving in with their biological families. "It's surprising from the standpoint of general public perception and even to people in the system," said Mark Courtney, the center's director. Although many were brought in to the child-welfare system because of abuse or neglect, most of the youths in the study had remained in contact with their relatives. Most reported feeling close to one or more relatives, especially grandparents, siblings and biological mothers.

Fostering a Future
Seattle University, WA - August 9, 2006
For foster youth, dreams of college are often put on hold—or seem too grand to achieve—in a life marked by upheaval and uncertainty. That's about to change for seven exceptional young people, who will take the first step toward fulfilling their dreams of higher education and a better life as Seattle University students beginning this fall.


Schools Getting Tougher on Truants
The Orlando Sentinel, FL – August 8, 2006
Truancy is out of control across Central Florida, and school officials in Orange and Osceola counties are turning to police and the state attorney for more help in convincing parents that their children must be in school. Beginning with this year’s start of school, parents of Orange and Osceola students with five unexcused absences in a month or 10 in three months may be in line for a serious talk with a law-enforcement officer.

Schools Add Graduation Coaches
The Telegraph, GA – August 8, 2006
Seniors in Houston and Peach counties will get an extra boost this year as they work toward graduation. As part of Gov. Sonny Perdue's education initiatives adopted this year by the state Legislature, all high schools in Georgia are required to have a completion counselor, or graduation coach as they are now called.

Two States Drop Out of New Dropout Plan – August 9, 2006
Last summer, all 50 governors pledged to adopt the same formula for tallying high school graduation rates to get a realistic state-by-state picture of how many students are dropping out. But two states already have opted out of the plan, and three more are still deciding whether they'll fall in line.

At Schools, Less Tolerance For ‘Zero Tolerance’
USA Today – August 9, 2006
“Zero tolerance” discipline policies widely enforced in U.S. schools are backfiring: They may be promoting misbehavior and making students feel more anxious, the American Psychological Association reports. The group called Wednesday for more flexibility and common sense in applying the policies, reserving zero tolerance for the most serious threats to school safety. “The ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach isn’t working. Bringing aspirin to school is not the same as bringing cocaine,” says Texas A&M educational psychologist Cecil Reynolds who led an APA panel that surveyed the get-tough practices.

Juvenile Justice

Should Teens Get Life Prison Terms?
The Detroit News, MI – August 5, 2006
Michigan’s juvenile justice system allows teens to spend the rest of their lives behind bars for murder, even if they didn’t pull the trigger. Though 41 other states permit life sentences without parole for those younger than 18, such sentencing is forbidden in most countries, notes a United Nations human rights report. Ann Arbor lawyer Deborah LaBelle, whose research was cited by the U.N., is leading a push in Michigan and across the country to change such laws.

Sheriff Implements Fresh Start Program for Juvenile Offenders
Sun Herald, FL – August 11, 2006
Charlotte County Sheriff John Davenport announced implementation of a new program called "Fresh Start" for first-time juvenile offenders and at-risk juveniles before they become delinquent.

Monday, August 07, 2006

This Week's News: 7 August, 2006


Perkins Reauthorization
On July 26, the Senate approved final reauthorization of the “Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006” by unanimous consent. Early on July 29, the House of Representatives followed by passing the bill by a 399-1 vote. Final passage of this legislation is a huge victory for career and technical education (CTE)! This was the final step necessary to send the bill to the President to be enacted into law.

Editorial: U.S. Needs to Improve Black Teens' Schooling
Star Tribune, MN – July 31, 2006
America now has more black, male college graduates, professionals and other success stories than ever, yet the numbers at the other end of the spectrum are growing too. Check out just about any index, and African-American males are at or near the top of the "worst" lists: unemployment, poverty, arrests, incarceration, health problems -- all tend to hit them harder.

Those Who Quit School Have Reasons and Regrets
Tennessean, TN – August 6, 2006
They call it an epidemic — the silent epidemic. It's the high number of students who drop out of high school. It's happening in Nashville, in Tennessee and in many other cities and towns across the nation. And, it's a major concern.

Juvenile Justice

New Juvenile Hall Delivers a Message
The Mercury News, CA – July 30, 2006
New architecture for juvenile justice is nearing completion in the foothills of San Mateo County -- designed to give young offenders the support they need to turn away from crime and thrive. At the county's new $148 million youth services complex, the premise is treatment, not punishment, and the message is delivered in the very walls: soothing pastels to calm testy moods, skylights letting in swaths of sunlight and open space for stretching growing muscles.

For Juvenile Offenders, a Measure of Justice that Heals
Boston Globe, MA - August 3, 2006
…The 2001 case involving Zucker was the first one the Restorative Circle handled. The program is an alternative to the court system for young offenders whose crimes involve property damage or alcohol abuse, but not personal injury. The Carlisle Restorative Circle, a replication of the Concord program, began in 2003.

Foster Care

Editorial: No Time to be Complacent
San Francisco Chronicle, CA - July 30, 2006
ASK ABOUT THE state of foster care in California these days, and many -- from the state Capitol, to the courts, to the counties -- will say the same thing: "The time for reform is now."

Leno Foster Care Bill Gets Funding
Bay Area Reporter, CA - August 3, 2006
…The funding boost was included in the 2006-07 state budget, and will allow implementation of Leno's AB2489, a measure to provide foster youth with academic preparation, financial assistance, and campus-based support.