Sunday, December 09, 2007

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Finding answers to dropout problem
Argus Leader – December 1, 2007
More then 10 percent of South Dakota teenagers quit high school before graduating, a choice that costs them $10,000 a year in earning power for the rest of their lives. As dropouts, they’re more likely to go on welfare, more apt to encounter social and financial difficulties – and now, they’re at the center of a statewide effort to change the way people think about education. The issue is no longer South Dakota’s dropout age, which had been 16 since World War II. The legislature voted this year to raise that age to 18 starting in 2009. The issue now is how educators will adapt to serve a captive audience that soon will include many students who under the old dropout law might have quit school at age 16 or 17. Career training, online coursework, internships and greater use of alternative schools all stand to address a root problem – that “some kids leave us because they’re bored,” Pogany said.

Drop-Out Prevention
KALB-News 5 - December 6, 2007
A Louisiana program designed to prevent students from dropping out of school and to encourage drop-outs to return to the classroom has received national recognition. The National Jobs for America’s Graduates Program awarded the Louisiana chapter its highest honor, a Five for Five National Performance Award and Top Five for Positive Outcomes Award for a 90% graduation rate among JAG students in Louisiana. The JAG program provides students the instruction they need to receive their high school diploma or GED. The program also helps students find jobs in high demand/high wage areas of the Louisiana economy. The Louisiana program also received a national grant to implement a research-based pilot of the JAG Out-of-School Model to encourage high school drop-outs to return to school and explore careers in the financial sector. The U.S. Department of Labor awarded the grant to just three states, Louisiana, Ohio and Florida. The project is aimed at serving 150 out-of-school youth over a two-year period.

School issues call for fathers to become visible in kids’ lives
The News-Press - December 5, 2007
Lee Middle School will launch a pilot program Thursday that will not only help its students educationally, but restore fractured relationships with their fathers. The missing male role model, often lost or discarded along a child’s educational path, will get another opportunity at Lee Middle with a program called “Fathers Supporting Education.” Whether it’s spell checking homework or showing up to chat at “Doughnuts for Dads,” Lee Middle wants to repair, rebuild and reattach the educational bond between absent father and their children. “Our children are failing in the school system and life. The only people that can be held accountable for this are our men.” Felton says 71 percent of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes. He surveyed Lee Middle’s 605 students and found 70 percent want a male role model to help with education.

Juvenile Justice

Are we too tough on kids who commit crimes?
The Associated Press/Pioneer Press – December 2, 2007
A generation after America decided to get tough on kids who commit crimes – sometimes locking them up for life – the tide may be turning. States are rethinking and, in some cases, retooling juvenile-sentencing laws. They’re responding to new research on the adolescent brain and studies that indicate teens sent to adult court end up worse off then those who are not: The get in trouble more often, they do it faster and the offenses are more serious. Some states are reconsidering life without parole for teens. Some are focusing on raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction, while others are exploring ways to offer kids a second chance, once they’re locked up – or even before. The MacArthur Foundation said in a report to be released this month that about half of the states are involved in juvenile justice reform. And a national poll, commissioned by MacArthur and the Center for Children’s Law and Policy and set for release at the same time, also found widespread public support for rehabilitating teens rather than locking them up.

Marathon County Officials Credit Restorative Justice Program for Drop in Crime by Kids
WSAW NewsChannel 7 – December 6, 2007
More kids are keeping themselves out of trouble, at least in Marathon County where county workers say fewer kids are finding themselves in the juvenile justice system. Social services has found it is often best to put delinquent youth in alternative programs. For some kids, a little counseling can stop them from ever committing another crime. For others the threat of finding themselves in the courtroom can work, but for a few, there’s only one option. Nonetheless, most county employees who work with juveniles strongly believe court isn’t the best option. And that’s why the district attorney’s office is so thankful for the Restorative Justice Program. “They meet with their victim, they apologize to the victim for what they’ve done, and the victim can make a request such as restitution or completion of community service as a way for making amends for what they’ve done,” Bogen said. The alternative programs are starting to work. County employees are seeing fewer children go through the justice system and end up in cell blocks.

Foster Care

Preteen perfects art of holiday giving
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review – December 7, 2007
When Maddi became a foster child nearly a decade ago, the little girl treasured a special coloring book and box of crayons. Coloring somehow cheered her. She colored a lot. So Madison decided to find ways to lift the spirits of foster children during the Christmas season. The project she initiated, now in its third year, has become one of the most significant and inspirational efforts in Western Pennsylvania to help children in need, child welfare officials say. This year, 330 children in the Allegheny County Children Youth and Family’s foster care program will receive bundles of art supplies and other gifts from the drive organized by Madison and conducted with the help of her family, friends, neighbors, classmates, teachers and church groups.

Program helps those aging out of foster system
St. Louis Post-Dispatch – December 5, 2007
Mike Fogelbach is enjoying the fruits of his labor, and all without living paycheck to paycheck – not bad for someone who left the state foster care system in October after seven years in group homes and independent living programs. Fogelbach, 21, has gotten what he has through his drive and work ethic but also with the help of a United Way of Greater St. Louis pilot program that aims to help teens and young adults who are homeless or aging out of the foster care system. The program teaches life skills to give them a better start at living on their own. And it offers an incentive in the form of up to $2,000 in matching funds toward a financial goal set by program participants. The United Way program challenges participants to save up to $1,000 in what’s called an Individual Development Account for things such as a down payment on a car or an apartment deposit. The money’s locked away until they’ve attended enough classes and met all the program requirements, when the United Way matches $2 for every $1 saved by the participant.

No comments: