Sunday, February 25, 2007

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Vallas: Transitional schools could stem dropouts
Philadelphia Inquirer – February 20, 2007
School-based programs aimed at curbing youth violence in Philadelphia are beginning to make a dent, but should be expanded, and other measures, such as transitional schools for overage middle-schoolers, should be tried, schools chief Paul Vallas suggested yesterday.

Panel advises community colleges on raising graduation rate
The Boston Globe – February 16, 2007
To boost low graduation rates, the state’s community colleges should reach out to students with mentoring, support groups, and more full-time faculty, says a state report released yesterday. The report, written by a task force appointed by the state Board of Higher Education more than a year ago, also urges public high schools to give students college-entrance exams in the 11th grade. Nearly two-thirds of students at the state’s 15 community colleges end up taking remedial classes because they were ill-prepared for college.

Lifeline to Low-Income Students
Inside Higher Ed – February 20, 2007
That low-income Americans are far less likely to go to college than their peers is a fact; less than clear are the reasons why. But one oft-cited explanation is that potential college students from lower socioeconomic groups are either unaware of how much need-based financial aid is available or intimidated by the process of applying for federal student aid. Researchers are taking an unconventional approach to the problem. What is unusual, however, is the research design—offering taxpayers a painless way to turn the information on their tax forms into a financial aid application—and the sponsor: H&R Block, the tax preparation company.

Juvenile Justice

In Vermont, Prisoners Go To High School Behind Bars
Washington Post - February 18, 2007
Welcome to one of 17 outposts of Community High School of Vermont. It’s the state’s largest high school, and it’s run by the Department of Corrections. The school—operating in each of the state’s jails and prisons, with walk-in schools at Probation and Parole office—has about 3,500 registered students, though only about 350 attend classes every day.

Turning the Tide of Juvenile Justice
Diverse – February 22, 2007
In recent years, more juveniles—particularly Black males-have been entering the criminal justice system and being tried as adults. From her perch as faculty member at Texas’ Prairie View A&M University, Dr. Camille Gibson wants to do something about that. With offices in the new $18 million state-of-the-art College of Juvenile Justice and Psychology building, Prairie View is also offering the nation’s only doctoral program in juvenile justice. There, Gibson and her colleagues teach, research and advocate public policy to increase understanding of juvenile offenders.

Consortium focuses on juvenile justice
The Lexington Dispatch – February 23, 2007
More than 200 people from numerous agencies across the county who work with juveniles met Thursday to discuss ways to better coordinate resources for at-risk children. The two-day consortium involved school superintendents, social workers, teachers and elected officials.

Foster Care

Bill orders tracking use of psychiatric drugs on foster kids
San Francisco Chronicle – February 24, 2007
Sacramento—A Bay Area lawmaker introduced a bill on Friday that would require the state to collect personal and medical data on foster children as a first step to determine if they are being overmedicated because they are misdiagnosed with mental illnesses. In many instances, foster children are given medications such as antidepressants when they’re simply withdrawn because they are coping with the trauma of leaving their families to live with strangers, said Assemblywomen Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa.

Funds from county could fill a gap for teen program
West Central Tribune – February 21, 2007
Kandiyohi County may pick up the slack in state and federal funding in order to help more teens stay healthy and out of permanent foster care. For about $5,000 the county could help about 24 youth that would otherwise fall through the cracks created by stiffer state restrictions. In the past, kids who moved in and out of foster care could participate in the preventative program. If often helped stop the foster care cycle, said Christenson. With the new restrictions, those kids won’t be able to participate in the program.

End is in sight for child-welfare lawsuit against state
Desert Morning News – February 20, 2007
Utah officials could soon be out from under the cloud of a 14-year-old lawsuit credited for reforming the state’s entire child-welfare system. Officials say the lawsuit, which has included court-ordered monitoring for many years, has made a vast difference in Utah’s overall child-welfare system. The case began in 1991, when a child advocate contacted the National Center for Youth Law with allegations that Utah’s foster youth were being mistreated.

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