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.

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