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.

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