Sunday, October 21, 2007

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Making Cash a Prize for High Scores on Advanced Placement Tests
New York Times – October 15, 2007
The city is expanding the use of cash rewards for students who take standardized test with a $1 million effort financed by philanthropists who will pay students who do well on Advanced Placement exams. The program, which will be in 25 public schools and six private ones beginning this year, is enthusiastically supported by Schools Chancellor, Joel L. Klein. The A.P. program is intended to increase the number of low-income, black and Latino high school students in New York who take and pass A.P. tests. In city schools, less than I percent of black students pass an Advanced Placement exam, according to city data analyzed by the program.

Ninety-six groups receive U.S. Labor Department’s first YouthBuild awards
Employment & Training Administration News Release – October 13, 2007
Dayton, Ohio – U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao today announced the award of $47 million to 96 groups that will provide education in construction as well as leadership training to at-risk young people across the United States, who will take part in building affordable housing in their own communities. “These $47 million in YouthBuild awards will help at-risk youth get the education, training and opportunity they need to achieve a better life,” said Secretary Chao. YouthBuild will include individuals who have been in juvenile justice system, youth aging out of foster care, high school dropouts and others.

Guard’s academy redirects dropouts
Athens Banner-Herald – October 20, 2007
There are 236 cadets enrolled in the Georgia National Guard’s Youth Challenge Academy at Fort Gordon, an Army base near Augusta. The academy uses military discipline to instill pride, confidence and respect for others in high school dropouts and at-risk teens. The cadets – mostly boys, but 20 percent are girls who live in segregated barracks – begin each day with reveille at 5 a.m., followed by physical training, marching in formation from class to class, inspections, homework and lights out at 9 p.m. Officials at Fort Gordon boast that 75 percent of teens in their 5 ½-month program graduate, and of those, 90 percent land full-time jobs, go to college or join the military. Earning a GED is mandatory for graduation and is required by the military. Since the program began in 1993, “6,300 kids – high school dropouts who had nowhere to go except jail – have walked out of here with a diploma, at least a GED,” said Lt. Gen. David Poythress, head of the Georgia National Guard.

Expelled kids face long odds
Boston Herald – October 21, 2007
Hundreds of Bay State school children expelled for drug possession, weapons charges and other violations – many unresolved – remain idle and at risk of becoming dropouts because their options for reentering the education system are severely limited. State Department of Education figures show nearly 800 youngsters have been expelled during the past three school years. Cases in which expulsions lead to criminal charges can take months to resolve, leaving the student in learning limbo, especially when families are too poor to find alternatives. “Every student is entitled to a free public education,” said DOE spokeswoman Heidi Guarino. “But when a student has been expelled on a felony charge for drugs, weapons or assault on a school personnel, no other district is obligated to enroll that student. The options that remain for parents are private, parochial or home school.” In Boston, expelled students can qualify for an alternative program to get back to class. The program sets aside 100 slots for high school students and 80 slots for middle school students. It includes counseling and intervention work that preps children to return to school.

Juvenile Justice

Lifers as Teenagers, Now Seeking Second Chance
New York Times – October 17, 2007
In December, the United Nations took up a resolution calling for the abolition of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for children and young teenagers. The vote was 185 to 1, with the United States the lone dissenter. Indeed, the United States stands alone in the world in convicting young adolescents as adults and sentencing them to live out their lives in prison. According to a new report, there are 73 Americans serving such sentences for crimes they committed at 13 or 14. The group that plans to release the report on Oct. 17, the Equal Justice Initiative, based in Montgomery, Ala., is one of several human rights organizations that say states should be required to review sentences of juvenile offenders as the decades go by, looking for cases where parole might be warranted.

Foster Care

Grants will help foster kids get first apartment
The News Tribune – October 20, 2007
The state of Washington is about to lay out what might be the smartest $676, 589 it will spend over the next two years. It has approved three grants to help foster kids aging out of the system. The aim is to keep them from becoming homeless. The grants state with the big basic: a home. They follow through with guidance on how to pay for and maintain a place of your own. These, remember, are foster children, whose family homes were a mess. Many have moved around a good deal, and most go out on their own with few resources. They haven’t had the chance to learn by example.

Gov. Culver: Announces All Iowa Opportunity Foster Care Scholarship recipients
Iowa Politics – October 18, 2007
Governor Chet Culver today announced that 80 Iowa foster care youth will be the first to receive education assistance through the All Iowa Opportunity Foster Care Grant. The program, which was signed into law by Governor Culver on May 29, 2007, will provide educational assistance to Iowa youth who were in foster care, or who were adopted from foster care after their 16th birthdays. “I ran for Governor to expand access to high education,” said Governor Culver. “Today, Iowa ranks near the bottom in needs-based access to higher education. Iowa can do better. The All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship will give young people, including Iowa’s foster care youth, who have historically left behind the chance to go to college. This is good for them, and good for our state. We must continue to train, improve and expand our workforce to be able to meet potential workforce challenges in the coming years.”

Broward’s ChildNet subcontracts to place gay foster kids
Miami Herald – October 18, 2007
Recognizing the gap in service, Broward’s foster care agency, ChildNet, has contracted with the National Youth Advocate Program (NYAP) to recruit and train foster parents to take in gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender foster children. “A lot of kids go through an awful lot because of gender identity questions and issues and their needs don’t get met in the absence of people who have had an experience with those issues,” said Larry Rein, interim president of ChildNet, which serves about 2,500 children, including about 600 in foster homes.

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