Sunday, April 22, 2007

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Bill would assure college aid funds
The Oklahoman – April 17, 2007
Money for a state-sponsored scholarship program for low-income Oklahoma students will be guaranteed each year if legislation passed out of a House committee Monday becomes law. Lawmakers have been seeking a dedicated funding source for years for the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program, which offers college scholarships to Oklahoma teens who meet certain income limitation, make good high school grades and stay out of trouble.

Urban League report a concern for whole community
The Repository - April 19, 2007
The National Urban League’s new report, “The State of Black America 2007, Portrait of the Black Male,” paints an ominous picture. Releaseed this week, the report suggests that black men and boys are endangered in nearly every aspect of like, specifically education, employment and incarceration. Jenkins said the Canton branch is formulating a Youth Empowerment program, which will assist the unemployed, dropouts and ex-offenders with education assistance and job training and real-world experience. “We want to step beyond employment,” he said. “We want to help young people focus on career attainment, to find mentors to help them. We want to work with educational institutions to make sure kids are taking the right classes. We want to expose them to the variety of careers available. We want to tap into a more comprehensive program and approach.”

At-risk students are building the future
Fay Observer – April 19, 2007
On Wednesday, nine at-risk high school students built two playhouses that will be sold in the Habitat Moore Store on N.C. 5 to benefit the charity. The students took on the project as part of the 19th annual National and Global Youth Services Day, an event meant to spur volunteerism in young people. The project gave many of the teenagers a chance to experience something they might not have otherwise—building something with their own hands. The students are members of Building Futures of Moore County Schools, a program designed to help young people who might have trouble finding jobs because they are homeless, have a criminal record, dropped out of school or have other problems. Usually the students divide their day between classroom and job shadowing or working at internships.

Juvenile Justice

Bill Addresses Crisis of Abuse Against LGBT Youth in Calif. Justice System – April 21, 2007
Youth in California’s juvenile justice system who are mistreated and harassed because they identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender would be assured new protections in a new bill introduced in the California Senate. The Juvenile Justice Safety and Protections Act, authored by Sen. Carole Migden (D-San Francisco), would create a Youth Bill of Rights for young people residing in state and county juvenile justice facilities. If requires that youth be informed of the services available to them for addressing discrimination, harassment or other rights violations. The legislation also would enact a comprehensive nondiscrimination policy in juvenile justice settings prohibiting bias based on actual or perceived race, ethnic group identification, ancestry, national origin, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental or physical disability or HIV status.

Violent Justice: Adult system fails young offenders
Science News – April 21, 2007
State laws that send some individuals under age 18 to trial and prison as adults have achieved the opposite of what the policy’s proponents intended, a new research review concludes. Transferring young people into adult systems yields substantially higher rates of later serious crimes compared with youths handled by juvenile justice system. Moreover, there’s no evidence that shifting some young offenders to the adult justice system prevents or reduces violence in the general population of children and teenagers. These findings come from the 14-member Task Force on Community Preventive Services, an independent group funded by federal and private sources. It’s reviewing the effectiveness of various efforts to lessen violence committed by and against youths.

Foster Care

Sibling visitation bill is signed
Des Moines Register – April 17, 2007
Iowa now has a law that gives children in foster care the right to visit their siblings. Gov. Chet Culver signed the bill Monday. The legislation, Senate File 480, requires the state’s Department of Human Services to make ‘a reasonable effort” to provide siblings visitation with each other if there’s no choice but to send them to separate foster homes.

Opening doors to college could aid ex-foster youths
Battle Creek Enquirer – April 21, 2007
But what about those children in foster care who want to continue their education beyond high school? What opportunities are available to them to pursue and obtain a college degree? Those questions will be at the heart of a summit being held today at Starr Commonwealth in Albion. Speakers will include Michigan Department of Human Services Director Marianne Udow and Michigan Supreme Court Justice Maura Corrigan, who co-chaired a 45-member task force in 2006 to develop an action plan to address the needs of young people who age out of foster care. According to DHS, approximately 500 youths reached 18 last year and left Michigan foster care. Both national and state research indicates they are more likely to encounter poverty, homelessness and unemployment than their non-foster care peers. According to a 2006 Wayne State University study, only 25 percent of former foster youths reported attending college or receiving advanced training since leaving the foster care system, compared to the national average of 67 percent of young adults ages 18-24.

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