Friday, January 19, 2007

This week's News: Youth in Transition


They toughed it out - 70 stayed in school and finally got their diplomas
The Cincinnati Enquirer – January 17, 2007
Whenever Bianca Riston's high school career threatened to fall off track, the 17-year-old Corryville teen tried to get back in step. She got pregnant her freshman year at age 14, but stayed in school even after having the baby. She held a part-time job that kept her working until 10 p.m. or later each weeknight, but she stayed in school.

Vocational ed rebounding as an answer to dropout crisis
Mercury News – January 15, 2007
For years, California's 6 million public school students have been given a clear message: If you want to succeed in life, go to college. In reality, almost one-third of the state's high school students will drop out. Nearly another third will graduate without the credits needed to attend a four-year university. And many will go on to college but fail once they get there, unsure of what to study or how to make classes translate into a good job.

Congress moves to cut college loan costs
Christian Science Monitor – January 16, 2007
It's a proposal that could save college graduates thousands of dollars: reducing the interest rates on some student loans from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent. Halving those rates played a big part in congressional campaign promises this fall, and is a part of the high-profile first 100 hours for the new Democratic majority.

Centers help drop-outs find their way back
Cleveland Plain Dealer – January 15, 2007
She was once a promising scholar, the best speller in her kindergarten class and a straight-A student in elementary school. Then, Kendra Cordero began hanging out with the wrong crowd. As her family life hit the skids, she skipped classes, drank and smoked pot. Her grades went south.

Juvenile Justice

Juvenile justice
San Gabriel Valley Tribune – January 18, 2007
The room was packed with about 200 high school students, but all was still. At one end of the dais sat Superior Court Judge Martha E. Bellinger. At the other end was the defendant, teenager Jasmine. Between them were six teens selected at random from the audience as jurors. Pomona Teen Court was in session. Jasmine, a student at Royal Oak Junior High in Covina, was accused of getting into a fight during school. She was being sentenced by her peers in a process designed to convince young people that their first step into negative behavior should be their last.

Juvenile justice group rallies at Capitol
Commercial Dispatch – January 16, 2007
Teenagers rallied Monday at the state Capitol in support of legislation that includes changing state law so juveniles convicted of murder can't be sentenced to life without parole. The Mississippi Coalition for the Prevention of Schoolhouse to Jailhouse also wants the Legislature to fund alternative community-based facilities instead of jailing juveniles. Among other requested changes is a measure that would not allow children under the age of 15 to be tried as adults.

Building more than a juvenile facility
20-year-old program helps young offenders learn a trade of interest – January 16, 2007
As he works in the nearly completed $176 million Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center, Ramiro Barajas talks about the drastic change of direction in his life. "I'm doing something better than what I was doing before," he said as he sat at the building's central controls, working on the security system. What Barajas was doing before got him sent to the old Juvenile Justice Center, just down Fairmont Drive in San Leandro. Eventually, it led to Camp Wilmont Sweeney, an unlocked, 24-hour residential program where teens serve out their court sentences for nonviolent crimes.

Foster Care

Tough times often await youths aging out of foster care system
Stamford Times – January 18, 2007
Articulate and engaging, 20-year-old Shakhina Bellamy appears an unlikely fit in the ranks of New York City's homeless. After hearing her story, told through tears and flashes of anger, her state of limbo seems an almost inevitable result of an adolescence spent bouncing through a dozen group homes and foster families as a ward of New York's child welfare agency.

New funds must support foster care, advocates say
Arizona Republic – January 17, 2007
Children's advocates are calling on the state Legislature to appropriate millions of dollars in new state money to support children in the state's foster care system. Federal cuts have left the Department of Economic Services facing a $19.7 million shortfall this year to cover services for children in foster care, and a $13.5 million shortfall next year and every year thereafter. The agency says if that funding, which is included in the governor's budget proposal released Friday, is not covered by the state, the impact to the agency would "be unimaginable."

Group urges more support for California foster youth
Scripps News – January 17, 2007
California provides foster youth with less than 5 percent of the financial support that average parents spend on their young adult children, according to a report released Tuesday by a San Diego-based advocacy group. A lack of assistance with tuition, rent and other necessities is one of the reasons many former foster youth become homeless or unemployed, the report by the Children's Advocacy Institute said.

Orphan Foundation of America Spearheads National Effort to Send Handmade Scarves to Former Foster Youth Attending College, Universities and Trade Schools
PR Newswire – January 16, 2007
The Orphan Foundation of America (OFA) will send warmth and encouragement in the form of colorful hand- knit scarves and Valentine's Day Care Packages to America's college-attending foster youth. An estimated 13,000 former foster youth are attending colleges and universities across the nation this year, most without any family support.

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