Monday, May 07, 2007

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Schools try radical ways to help students pay for college
The Christian Science Monitor – April 30, 2007
Amid the climate of skyrocketing college tuitions and convoluted aid programs, a handful of universities are introducing simple and transparent financial aid programs. Among them: across-the-board tuition cuts, loan caps, and completely eliminating tuition for some. Yet in the last 10 years, at least 19 schools have cut tuition dramatically. Applying for college financial aid has become more complicated than filing a tax return, says Cornell University professor Ronald Ehrenberg. To make matters worse, students may need financial aid now more than ever. Tuition increases at nearly double the rate of inflation, and “sticker prices” in excess of $50,000 can discourage prospective students before they apply.

Just the Stats: Can High School Counselors Prevent Drop-Outs?
Diverse – May 1, 2007
A new report by the National Center for Education Statistics suggests a strong relationship between the number of credit hours a high-school student earns as a freshman and their likelihood to drop out. With this information, could school administrators identify potential dropouts early enough to intervene? Based on an analysis of the outcomes of a cohort of students who were in the 10th grade in 2002, the report, “Course Credit Accrual and Dropping Out of High School,” “examines the timing of dropping out and its relationship to the number of credits earned by high school students.”

Juvenile Justice

Bill: Name juvenile escapees
Citizen-Times – May 7, 2007
State lawmakers including Justus, R-Henderson, and Rep. Bruce Goforth, D-Buncombe, want to require juvenile justice officials to release escapees’ names, photos and offenses to the public. Their bill is scheduled for a vote today on the House floor. Juvenile criminal records are sealed. Officials said after the recent escape that they would be committing a crime by releasing information. The state juvenile justice department hasn’t taken a position on the proposed changes.

A better village
Memphis Commercial Appeal – May 6, 2007
Imagine what a difference it could make if the community began throwing resources at kids like this at an early age. What if he had been through an early childhood education program, which, according to Gates Foundation research, reduces the chance of acquiring a juvenile record by 18 percent? That improves a child’s chance of graduating from high school by 20 percent, of going to college by 21 percent, or gaining skillful employment by 20 percent. Among 15 strategies developed by Operation: Safe Community, a crime-fighting initiative rolled out at a community crime summit last November, is the anticipated launch of a program that would produce personal development plans for 12, 500 youths who land at Juvenile Court every year because of unruly or delinquent acts. The JustCare 180degrees program, as the name implies, is about direction. Its design is based on what researchers have learned from successful youth development efforts in Boston, Milwaukee, Vancouver and elsewhere. Its aim goes beyond preventing kids from committing crimes. It’s to turn them in the opposite direction and produce successful family members, students and citizens.

Foster Care

Bill would inform foster children of legal rights
Houston Chronicle – April 30, 2007
Senate Bill 805, which passed the Senate earlier this month and sits in the House Human Services Committee, empowers foster youth by education them about their rights. The bill, by Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, establishes the foster children’s bill of rights. Uresti’s bill compiles 50 existing statutory rights and rolls them into one comprehensive laundry list. The bill then mandates that a simplified version of this list be clearly explained, printed and given to each foster child. It would be translated if necessary, or communicated in any way necessary for a child with a disability.

NJ plans to keep more abused, neglected children in-state – May 2, 2007
Trenton, NJ- New Jersey’s long-troubled child welfare agency plans to spend $15.6 million to keep more neglected children from being sent out-of-state for help. The state has 298 children receiving services outside New Jersey, down from 327 in March 2006. Kevin Ryan, commissioner of the Department of Children and Families, said the money will allow the state to place another 200 children in state residential settings. “Keeping our kids as close to home as possible while providing the services they need to heal and grow is an ongoing challenge and a top priority for Gov. Corzine and this administration,” Ryan said.

Many foster youths face a future of homelessness
Inside Bay Area – May 6, 2007
When a foster youth becomes homeless, no one social worker, guardian or child welfare department is to blame. Like most states, California has failed to provide an effective safety net for more than 4,000 children who age out of its foster care system each year. One study says that at least one in five former foster children becomes homeless within a few years of becoming homeless within a few years of becoming a legal adult. Other research, using broader criteria for homelessness, sets the figure as high as half. Two bills pending in the state Legislature this year could help prevent foster youths from becoming homeless. One, AB 846, would add $15.5 million to THP-Plus, a state-funded transitional housing program for former foster youth ages 18 to 24. Another bill, AB1331, would allow teenagers with serious mental or physical disabilities to apply for Supplemental Security Income before aging out of foster care.

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