Monday, February 11, 2008

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Chief Executive of Gates Foundation Plans to Step Down
The Chronicle of Philanthropy - February 6, 2008
After helping to build the nation’s largest philanthropy, Patty Stonesifer has announced she is stepping down as chief executive of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Ms. Stonesifer will continue to work at the foundation, overseeing an as-yet-undefined grant-making project. She will officially leave her current position at the beginning of 2009 and will help the foundation’s co-funders, Bill and Melinda Gates, find a replacement, who could be appointed as early as September. She said the foundation has hired an executive-search company and will look at candidates from around the world with a mix of corporate government, and nonprofit experience.

Colleges could turn away 60,000, report says
St. Petersburg Times – February 5, 2008
Tampa – Between 40,000 and 60,000 students – many of them minorities – could be denied an education in one of Florida’s 11 public universities, thanks to years of insufficient funding and complicated political factors that have college presidents preparing to slash enrollment. So concludes ENLACE Florida, a grant-funded group that promotes college access and readiness for minorities, in a report sent today to lawmakers and education officials across the state. ENLACE officials conclude their report, “Florida’s Higher Education on the Brink,” by urging lawmakers and college educators to convene a summit that produces bold solutions. State university leaders have recently discussed the need for such a forum.

Local tech training faces deep cuts
Daily Press – February 11, 2008
President Bush’s proposed 2009 federal education budget slashes all career and technical education funding, currently more than $1.27 billion, to zero. If Congress lets the proposed cuts stand, Virginia school districts, regional education centers and colleges would lose more than $27 million, about $19 million of which goes to school districts. Lan Neugent, state assistant superintendent of technology and career education, said the state would lose about 5 percent of its career and technical education funding. In a press conference Monday, U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spelling said programs slated for elimination, including career and technical education, were “less important and less effective” than those left in the budget, including several new proposals.

Juvenile Justice

Judge Rules to Dismiss Cases of 17-Year-Olds Seen as Adults
The New York Times – February 6, 2008
A Rhode Island judge ruled Tuesday that felony cases brought while state law briefly treated 17-year-olds as adults would be dismissed or transferred to Family Court. The judge, Daniel A. Procaccini of Superior Court, ruled that about 100 pending case would be dismissed. Cases in which a grand jury has returned an indictment will be transferred to Family Court, but they can be returned to Superior Court if the attorney general thinks the crime is egregious and should be elevated to the adult level. The dismissed cases can be refilled in juvenile court, according to the ruling. The initial change in law, which took effect July 1, was meant to save millions of dollars a year by transferring juvenile defenders to state prison. The law set off a furor among law enforcement officials and children’s advocates, and failed to take into account that juveniles are housed in protective custody, which is more expensive. The legislature repealed the law in mid-November, but the change did not apply retroactively.

Foster Care

Oregon’s foster care fails nearly every way
The Oregonian – February 4, 2008
Salem – A new federal review of Oregon’s child welfare program finds the state failed in 11 or 14 areas crucial to the safety and well-being of children in foster care. Among the conclusions: Oregon has a serious shortage of foster homes; reports of abuse are not quickly investigated; kids don’t get the mental health care they need; and caseworkers aren’t in with the children or their parents as often as they should. More than 12,000 children – thousands living in temporary foster homes – are in state custody at any given time. The state has until April 7 to submit its improvement plan to the U.S. Administration for Children and Families. More recently, the state has begun to reinvest in its child welfare program. The 2007 Legislature approved money for 100 additional caseworkers. This month, the agency will ask the Legislature for $3.4 million to hire assistants who can help lighten caseworker workloads so they have the time to visit children in their care.

Plan seeks to help teens in foster care
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – January 29, 2008
A new initiative announced Tuesday will serve as a safety net for African-American youths who age out of Milwaukee County’s foster care system before finding permanent homes and have difficulty with a cultural identity. The initiative, called “Year of the Child” is aimed at improving the health, safety and well-being of children in out-of-home care. “Many of these children are moving from home to home, without a cultural identity, and this is hindering their growth,” said Ald. Joe Davis Sr., who unveiled the initiative during a news conference at City Hall. Davis, who was joined by a consortium of leaders from social-services providers, non-profit organizations and other youth-oriented agencies, said he was inspired to come up with the plan after visiting South Africa. El-Amin said the initiative’s goals include recruiting more African-American foster care parents and helping to connect foster children with their biological parents, if possible. Another focus is to assist foster care youths who age out of the foster care system.

No comments: