Sunday, September 30, 2007

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Let the “No Child” law do its work
Christian Science Monitor – September 25, 2007
Congress begins debate this week on renewal of a 2001 education law that has led many more children to read and do math at their grade level. The gold-star success of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) argues for keeping the law’s mandate for state largely intact. The simple wisdom of the NCLB law is its recognition that reading and math are fundamental to learning other subjects, and that schools need to be independently judged. Before this law, US public schools were graduating many students who could barely read a sentence or multiply numbers. Since then, test scores in these subjects have risen. More than 70 percent of schools showed progress. And, most important, large gaps between white and minority students have narrowed. So far, NCLB’s successes outweigh its flaws. Congress should stick to the law’s purpose of ensuring basic education for as many children as possible, with as much transparency as possible.

School discipline tougher on African Americans
Chicago Tribune – September 25, 2007
America’s public schools remain as unequal as they have ever been when measured in terms of disciplinary sanctions such as suspensions and expulsions, according to little-noticed data collected by the U.S. Department of Education for the 2004-2005 school year. In every state but Idaho, a Tribune analysis of the date shows, black students are being suspended in numbers greater than would be expected from their proportions of the student population. There’s more at stake than just a few bad marks in a student’s school record. Studies show that a history of school suspensions or expulsions is a strong predictor of future trouble with the law – and the first step on what civil rights leaders have described as a “school-to-prison pipeline” for black youths, who represent 16 percent of U.S. adolescents but 38 percent of those incarcerated in youth prisons.

USC to assist needy
The State – September 21, 2007
USC will guarantee debt-free tuition for some of South Carolina’s poorest students beginning next year, officials said Thursday. About 200 students from low-income families will be offered fully paid tuition and fee grants in the fall of 2008 in what officials describe as the first of its kind program in South Carolina. The grants are indicative of a trend among private and public universities to give tuition grants to students who have had to take on major debts to attend college. “We believe this will help with our racial and economic diversity. Whether you are white or black, it is the goal of the program to break the cycle of poverty.”

Juvenile Justice

County’s juvenile delinquent program gets national kudos
Santa Cruz Sentinel – September 26, 2007
Santa Cruz County’s holistic approach to juvenile offenders has successfully reduced the number of minors detained in Juvenile Hall. That success is highlighted in a report scheduled for release today by the Justice Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. One of the keys to success in Santa Cruz County has been developing and seeking out existing community-based programs to connect young offenders to services and resources to help them stay out of trouble. Another key component are neighborhood accountability boards, which help divert low-risk offenders away from the formal criminal justice system. Family conferences also are used, to help an offender’s extended family become actively involved in helping to keep them out of trouble.

Juvenile services win praise
Chicago Tribune – September 26, 2007
Cook County juvenile court sent nearly 400 fewer youths to state prisons between 1997 and 2004 because they were referred instead to community-based support services, according to a report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation made public Wednesday. Court officials found a more efficient way to assess the mental health of kids by assigning each courtroom an expert who interprets psychological assessments and helps identify the appropriate treatment. Also, Cook County has teamed up with community counseling providers to expand programs that were once only for youths returning home from treatment to include those at risk of going there or to a prison. The Cook County Probation and Court Services Departments created an advisory panel in 2002 of current and former youth in the juvenile justice system to help assess the effectiveness of programs and find ways to improve them. Youth on probation in Cook County attend an orientation led by that council, which has been shown to reduce probation violations.

Greene County gets grant for juvenile drug court expansion
News-Leader – September 28, 2007
The Greene County Juvenile Office has been awarded a $420,000 Juvenile Drug Court-Reclaiming Futures grant to fund expansion and enhancement of Green County’s Juvenile Drug Court. Juvenile Drug Court is designed to enhance our capacity to provide intervention, treatment and structure to young people who have began the downward spiral of substance abuse and delinquent activity, Epperly said. One thing this community can wrap its arms around is a program that addresses substance abuse by children and delinquency behavior associated with adolescent substance abuse.

Foster Care

Foster care overhaul – some say long overdue – on governor’s desk
San Francisco Chronicle – September 29, 2007
More than 77,000 foster children live in California, more than in any other state. For decades, members of this largely invisible population have been moved from home to home until they were “emancipated” at age 18 and cut off from services. But the safety net for these youths might be expanding soon. Nine foster care overhaul bills are in front of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to be signed or vetoed by Oct.14. In Washington, a bill introduced by U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., seeks to extend benefits for foster youth to the age of 21. Experts and policymakers see the beginning of a revolution in a long-beleaguered system.

State high court considers ways to repair foster care
Houston Chronicle – September 25, 2007
Austin – Crowded dockets, poorly trained judges and lawyers and lack of collaboration with child protective caseworkers contribute to a legal system that consistently fails abused and neglected children, legal experts and child welfare officials told the Texas Supreme Court of Tuesday. The court is considering establishing a permanent judicial commission to help courts better serve children, youth and families in the foster care system.

No comments: