Sunday, January 28, 2007

This Week's News:Youth in Transition


Experts raise alarm on dropouts
The Express-News-January 27, 2007
At least half of all high school students in the state’s major cities are dropping out of school, creating a crisis that state leaders are not doing enough to address, some education experts say. High school dropouts have far less income potential. Their higher incarceration rates and dependence on public health care and other social services create much higher costs for society.

Four Schools Picked for Grants
The Ledger-January 24, 2007
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest philanthropic organization, is bankrolling efforts to improve four struggling high schools in Hillsborough County. The schools were selected for a national initiative to ratchet up academic expectations, especially for low-income and minority students. The four-year project’s goals include increasing the graduation rate in selected schools by 10 percent and decreasing the drop-outs by 10 percent.

Green-Rainbow: State report reveals public education crisis
The Bridge-January 23, 2007
The Department of Education announced Tuesday that only 80 percent of Massachusetts high school students graduate after four years, with major disparities when factoring in race and income-level. The Department report said that only 64 percent of black students completed high school in four years and that figure was 57 percent among Latino students.

Juvenile Justice

Not eager for return of juvenile offenders
Los Angeles Times-January 23, 2007
As Los Angeles County labors to turn its ailing juvenile detention department around, and as federal officials launched an inspection of probation camps Monday, officials expressed concerns over the governor’s proposal to shift up to half the young offenders in state custody back to counties. Los Angeles’ probation system of roughly 4,000 minors in three juvenile halls and 19 camps has been plagued by violence among youth and inadequate staffing.

Juvenile Injustice
Gotham Gazette-January 24, 2007
In his 2007 State of the City address, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that he will launch “the most significant restructuring of our juvenile justice system in decades,” including an increase in alternatives to incarceration, a crackdown on truancy, and a call to remove youthful offender status for those young people convicted of a crime involving a gun. “We’re going to do more than ever to hold accountable the children and teens who run afoul of the law,” the mayor said, “and also help them get the services they need.”

Crime victims’ families lobby on juvenile justice, other bills
Sun Herald-January 25, 2007
Some of the victims’ advocates want legislators to kill a bill designed to reshape the way some juveniles’ criminal cases are handled. Other advocates sought lawmakers’ support for a separate bill that could open some investigative records that have been kept secret. Another bill, 97-19 says that prosecutors would be restricted in using confessions of people younger than 17 and judges would have some discretion in sentencing young people convicted of violent crimes.

Foster Care

Offering Help for Former Foster Care Youths
The New York Times- January 27, 2007
In part because of the increasing advocacy by foster youth groups, many states are expanding efforts to help young adults prepare for life outside the system, offering transitional housing, education, medical care, and mentoring as they step out on their own. States are also extending aid for extra years, in some cases to age 21 and beyond. “We’re finally seeing recognition by public agencies that they have a responsibility to this population beyond the age of 18,” said Gary Stangler, director of Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative.

Funding helps foster kids beat the odds
Sierra Sun-January 26, 2007
Each year, nearly 60 children reach adulthood and age-out of the foster care systems in Nevada and Placer counties without access to social resources. But that will change soon, as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has increased the budget for older foster youth, allowing local counties to improve their systems of care. This more than triples the state’s investment in the Transitional Housing Placement-Plus Program. THP-Plus is a program that provides affordable housing and supportive services to youth, age 18 to 24, to help them make a successful transition from foster care. It offers a wide-range of services, such as educational counseling, job search assistance, banking and budgeting education and case management.

Miryam J. Choca: Help foster kids make the grade
Sacramento Bee-January 26, 2007
Participants in a groundbreaking Education Summit spoke with one voice, calling upon California to make education its 75,000 foster youth a statewide priority. A diverse group of present and former foster youth, educators, probation officers, judges, attorneys, social workers and child advocates is ready to go to work and asked policymakers to join them. The group gave a series of detailed policy recommendations to a bipartisan panel of state legislators and members of the California Blue Ribbon Commission on Children in Foster Care.

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