Sunday, March 11, 2007

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


College-bound seniors load up early
Des Moines Register – March 5, 2007
The number of high school students enrolled at community colleges has increased 60 percent since 2002, a new Iowa Department of Education report shows. High school students are becoming so proficient at earning college credit that 4 in 10 students at Iowa Central Community College are still in high school. Community college officials said the trend is a positive one because students become more engaged in classes during their senior year, and the extra credits give them the freedom to take fewer classes per semester in college so they can focus on grades or pick up another major. Officials at some public and private colleges are concerned, however. They say that students are taking college credit before they are ready to earn grades that are high enough to get them into college.

Patrick wants to raise dropout age
The Boston Globe – March 6, 2007
Massachusetts students should no longer be allowed to drop out of school at 16, Governor Deval Patrick said yesterday, endorsing a plan to raise the mandatory school attendance age to 18. Concerns about the cost of raising the mandatory age and how schools would enforce it quickly emerged yesterday, even among supporters of the plan. Leaders of teachers unions and school superintendents said yesterday that schools would need more money and programs, such as extra tutoring and counseling, to enforce the law.

YouthBuild: Making a difference one life at a time
Cherokee Sentinel – March 7, 2007
The local YouthBuild organization gives hope and a new start for a bright future to area high school dropouts. For the past two years area students ranging in age from 16-24 have taken charge and responsibility for their lives taking advantage of a national program that empowers each participant to strive to make a difference not only in their lives but to help others. One way the organization makes a difference in others’ lives is the building of new homes for homeless or low-income families. The youth obtain job training skills in construction and are working to obtain their General Equivalence Diploma (GED). Also, students participate in life skills training, leadership skills and career building assistance through the process.

Juvenile Justice

Youth prison reform on table
Contra Costa Times – March 7, 2007
Sacramento- Aiming to cut costs and speed reforms in California’s troubled youth prison system, state officials are suddenly proposing what advocates have spent 20 years fighting for: transferring all nonviolent offenders and all girls and young women back to their homes communities. Versions of the plan to keep juvenile offenders out of the state’s violent prisons have been tried before. This time, there’s unexpected urgency from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration. The plan would save taxpayers at least $42.9 million, put youth offenders in more treatment-focused, county-run programs and free up cells that could ease the adult prison overcrowding crisis.

Foster Care

Foster parents needed to help Hispanic children
The Arizona Republic – March 5, 2007
Hispanic children make up about a third of the estimated 9,800 children in the Arizona’s foster care system, according to the state’s most recent numbers. The state does not track the ethnicity of licensed foster parents, but social service agencies said the percentage of licensed foster families who are Hispanic is very low, and they struggle to match Hispanic children with Hispanic families.

Working together for the sake of kids
Chicago Tribune – March 4, 2007
Across the country during the last decade, there has been a shift within child-welfare systems toward encouraging foster parents to work with birth parents, child-welfare experts said. In Illinois, child-welfare officials say the better the relationship between birth and foster parents, the higher the rate of children successfully returned to their birth parents.

Baptist agency offers PAL to young adults leaving foster care
The Baptist Standard – March 9, 2007
Baptist Child & Family Services has opened Texas’ first Preparation for Adult Living support program outside of urban areas for youths aging out of foster care. The Kerrville Transition Center will serve hundreds of foster and at-risk-youth ages 15 to 23. In addition to job skills and interpersonal skills training, hundreds of youth are expected to get help from Baptist Child & family Services with money management, housing and transportation, health and safety issues and planning for a successful future.

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