Sunday, March 25, 2007

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Gates Foundation to Give D.C. Students Push to College
Washington Post – March 22, 2007
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will announce today a $122 million investment to create a new crop of high school and college scholars among some of the city’s poorest and lowest-achieving students. It is the foundation’s largest investment to date in D.C. education and one of the largest grants it has made for education.

No Child Left Behind losing steam
The Christian Science Monitor - March 21, 2007
Washington- Support for No Child Left Behind – President Bush’s signature reform- is fraying as it heads into reauthorization this year. The heaviest criticism is coming from within his own party. Conservative Republicans in the House and Senate introduced bills last week that allow states to opt out of the most of the law’s requirements, while keeping federal funding. Backers of No Child Left Behind say that the move would gut the law.

Quincy program keeps kids in class: Tries to identify cause of absences
The Patriot Ledger – March 24, 2007
In the past, Quincy School Committee member Linda Stice had trouble relating to students with poor attendance records. But now, thanks to a program to help traumatized children, Stice understands that missing classes can be a sign of problems that go beyond schools. Janet Powell, who administers the program, said it is aimed at children who have been abused or who have witnessed violence. Students that are identified are given individual attention with their schoolwork and are taught about decision-making, handling stress and getting along with others.

Juvenile Justice

Advocates: Changes needed to keep young offenders out of adult jails
The Arizona Republic – March 21, 2007
Young offenders end up in adult jails too often, increasing the odds they will be repeat offenders and move on to more serious crimes, say advocates pushing for changes in how teens are treated by the justice system. They cite a sharp decrease in the crime rate for violent juvenile offenders during the past decade as another reason for changing the prosecute-them-as-adults approach that some state have adopted.

Lawmakers want N.C. to stop automatically trying teens as adults
The Fayetteville Observer – March 21, 2007
A rigid law that requires North Carolina criminal courts to treat 16-and 17-year-olds as adults is doing more harm than good, requiring harsh punishment for juvenile mistakes and shutting teens off from treatment that could help them turn their lives around, lawmakers and youth advocates said Wednesday. North Carolina is one of three states that automatically treats 16-and 17-year-olds as adults when they are accused of any crimes. Bills in House and Senate would raise that age to 18, and establish a task force to examine how best to treat older teens within the juvenile justice system.

New state Juvenile Justice draft mission revealed
The News-Press – March 23, 2007
Tallahassee – Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Walt McNeil today unveiled a new draft mission for the embattled department, one that seeks to broaden its approach from public protection to prevention, intervention and treatment. When McNeil accepted his new position in January, he said the agency, “is not a place for punishment. It is a balance approach. We have to make sure we deal with prevention…that we prevent kids from coming into the criminal justice system.”

Foster Care

Child advocates air concerns
McCook Daily Gazette - March 23, 2007
Representing 17 agencies in the area that focus on the well being of children and families, the Child Advocacy Team named their top concerns as mental health issues, the foster care system, state funding and the condition of the Nebraska Health and Human Services System. The foster care system in Nebraska is in need of a major overhaul, members said, citing a lack of support for foster parents. Another issue they mentioned is when foster children are returned to their family of origin and problems in the family have not been addressed. Some kind of education is needed for the original family, such as parenting skills, before the child is returned.

Foster care system to get youth review
Inside Bay Area – March 22, 2007
Courts make major life decisions for youths in the system, including whether they go home to their parents or go to live with a foster family or into a group home. But Frazier, 20, now a college student, said he couldn’t get any of his rotating cast of court-appointed attorneys to adequately prepare him for his hearings or even explain what was going on. Frazier will share his experience with the state’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Children in Foster Care at a public hearing in Sacramento today on the effectiveness of the courts in dealing with foster children.

Help Teen Girls in Foster Care Feel Special
The Signal – March 24, 2007
Undoubtedly, there are generous people who are willing to donate prom dresses, bridesmaid gowns, handbags and fancy costume jewelry to high school girls who need them – girls in the Los Angeles County foster care system who want to attend their proms but lack the proper essentials to do so. “Glamour Gowns,” an annual event for girls in foster care, will be held April 21 and 22 at the Convention Center in Los Angeles. There, more than 600 high school girls currently in L.A. County’s foster system will receive free prom gowns, along with many pretty accessories to complete their look.

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