Sunday, July 29, 2007

This Week’s News: Youth in Transition


Former Governor Jim Hunt Calls Democrats to Debate on Education
Associated Content – July 22, 2007
According to Strong American Schools, former North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt has asked all of the Democratic candidates vying for president to stress education during the CNN/Youtube debate that will be held Monday in Charleston, South Carolina. The former governor said that the debate was the perfect forum for discussing the candidates' ideas on education reform and stressing the importance of academic standards in the United States. He said that if schools in the United States fail to keep students in school until graduation and prepare them for further secondary education, then "we deny future generations the chance of success and creating a higher quality of life."

Pennsylvania Youth in Transition Grants Reconnect Youth With Education
PR Newswire – July 24, 2007
HARRISBURG, Pa.-- Governor Edward G. Rendell today announced the investment of $1.2 million to improve access to education for youth who left high school before graduating or are becoming too old for foster care. The Pennsylvania Youth in Transition Project is a cooperative effort being developed by the departments of Labor & Industry, Education and Public Welfare, as well as the Pennsylvania Workforce Investment Board and other workforce development organizations. The money will be used by state and local partners to create community-based approaches that address young people's needs through counseling and training focused on high school completion, postsecondary preparation and career success.

State headed right way with KidsCount report
Jackson Sun – July 29, 2007
Tennessee, and Gov. Phil Bredesen, got some good news Wednesday with the release of the latest KidsCount report, sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. According to that report, Tennessee's cumulative ranking in the area of child well-being jumped three places, from 46th last year to 43rd this year. While there is obviously still room for improvement, it is a clear sign that the efforts of Gov. Bredesen and his administration are paying off. We should be especially proud of our improvement in the area of high school drop outs. In the last five years, the governor has dedicated himself to improving education at all levels. He has done that by improving funding for K-12 and higher education. He has done it by working to make access to pre-K education universal in Tennessee. And he has done it by suggesting innovative ideas for improving the state's high school curriculum. Now, that focus and those efforts are starting to pay off.

Juvenile Justice

Juvenile jail makes strides
Indianapolis Star – July 22, 2007
A tour of the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center shows significant improvements to a facility that was the target of allegations of sexual mistreatment of children last year. But as welcomed as those improvements are, much work remains on how our juvenile justice system treats youthful offenders. Chronic overcrowding inside the jail has ceased to be a problem. Alleged offenders are being moved through the system faster – usually within a day – thanks to the creation of a court in which a judge determines whether a child should be charged with a crime. That’s an encouraging trend, and it should be bolstered by a new screening process installed in May.

Boot camp substitute is unpopular
St. Petersburg Times – July 24, 2007
TALLAHASSEE - The sheriff's juvenile justice program that was designed in the wake of the death of Martin Lee Anderson and envisioned as a replacement for boot camps has gone largely unused. After 14-year-old Anderson died in 2006 following a confrontation with guards at a Panama City boot camp for juvenile offenders, lawmakers did away with military-style boot camps. They created a new type of program intended as a replacement, a program similar in its highly structured approach, but with a ban on physical discipline and a focus instead on education, job training, community service and counseling. Lawmakers set aside $10.6-million for the program, known as the STAR program, for Sheriff's Training and Respect. But Polk County is the only place where a sheriff's agency has decided to try the program.

Foster Care

Report: Place more foster kids with kin
Salt Lake Tribune – July 29, 2007
Romero is among the 160 to 200 Utahs who leave foster care each year without a permanent home. No one to call for financial, career or romantic advice. No one to scold them, hold them or just listen. They are the poster children for a national child welfare system that has kept kids safe but has failed to parent them, according to the 2007 Kids Count report, an annual survey of child well-being by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. "In many respects, we succeed at removing children from dangerous environments only to put them in a different kind of harm's way," wrote Douglas W. Nelson, foundation president.

We need to create better futures for foster care youth - Barbara Boxer
Inside Bay Area – July 26, 2007
For many of the 513,000 children and teenagers in our foster care system, having a permanent "home" to grow up in is a dream that will never be realized. The foster care system is often a last resort — offering a safe environment when there is nowhere else to turn, or providing a family for children who have been separated from their own. We have seen many successes through the foster care system — children finding stability and comfort through caring relationships with generous and nurturing families, mentors and volunteers. But for many children, the help stops when they turn 18 and "age out" of the system. We must do more for these young adults who have already been through so much.

Law lets county continue to provide foster care services
Houston Chronicle – July 24, 2007
Harris County officials are breathing easier as a result of a new law that lets them continue to provide services to children in the custody of the state's Child Protective Services despite ongoing privatization efforts. The legislation was signed into law last month after Attorney General Greg Abbott ruled that an earlier law calling for the privatization of all foster care would have prevented the county from competing for that business. The county now provides about $5 million in foster care services, including emergency shelter beds, psychological and developmental assessments, and medical and dental care.

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