Monday, June 09, 2008

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Public support key to success
The Leaf Chronicle – June 6, 2008
High school graduation drives public education across the nation, and Clarksville-Montgomery County is no different. A new initiative, 100% Graduation Is Clarksville’s Business, is a collective community approach to encourage and support students to stay in school and receive their diplomas. The federal No Child Left Behind law requires school districts to achieve 100 percent high school graduation by the 2013-14 school year. The 100% Graduation Is Clarksville’s Business initiative is another tool to widen the graduation emphasis into the workplace and the home. “This project is about making people aware of the importance of education and understanding the role each of us plays in making Clarksville a better community. Too often we forget that we have a number of resources we under-utilize.” The local school district has several support programs in place to help students experience academic success and graduate. The first set of programs are the Transition programs – Bridges and Pathways. Bridges is designed for students transitioning from middle school to high school, and Pathways is designed for students transitioning from elementary to middle school. Additional programs include READ 180 and Language!, reading intervention programs for middle school and high school students not reading on grade level. Credit Recovery and Grade Recovery programs allow students to recover credits failed during the school year, rather than waiting for summer school.

Group helps thousands graduate
News 14 Carolina – June 6, 2008
Charlotte – As thousands of high school students prepare for graduation, some of them may not have made it if it wasn’t for one local organization. Right Moves for Youth has been helping students stay in school and on task for years. Last year, 12 students from Myers Park High School graduated from the program, earned a diploma and all went on to a four-year college. The program helps motivate students, encouraging them to stay in school and one day earn a high school diploma. Right Moves for Youth says 82 percent of its students graduate high school and go on to post-secondary institutions.

Education Week reports grim news on high school graduation rates
The Plain Dealer – June 5, 2008
It’s likely that most of the estimated 1.2 million students nationwide who will not graduate with their peers this spring will never get a diploma. While experts agree that post-secondary training is crucial in the modern job market, almost 30 percent of the class of 2008 will not graduate, according to a report released Wednesday by the trade publication Education Week. The report, called “Diplomas Count,” found that nationwide, just 71 percent of ninth-graders made it to graduation four years later. By some estimates, the problem will cost the nation more than $300 billion in lost wages, taxes and productivity over the course of a lifetime. The news was worse for minority students. Data shows that only 55 percent of black students graduate from high school in four years, and only 58 percent of Latino students.

Juvenile Justice

Young parolees given basic rights
Mercury News – June 5, 2008
A significant legal settlement announced Wednesday grants thousands of juvenile parolees fundamental due process rights for the first time in California history. Under the agreement reached in a Sacramento federal court between youth advocates and state officials, offenders who violate parole will soon be afforded basic constitutional rights granted to adult parolees. In hearings to decide whether they should be locked up again, juvenile parolees will be granted legal counsel, the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses, and protection from lengthy pre-hearing detention and the arbitrary lengthening of sentences. Changes under the settlement seem basic for most courts of law but will be novel in the juvenile parole system. Defendants will have the right to a well-defined route of appeal. There will be strict rules on pre-hearing detention and on the time parole board members can add to sentences, with a maximum of one year. Violators will no longer automatically be shackled during hearings, and the parole board must now consider alternatives to incarceration, such as community treatment programs.

Foster Care

Successful plan needs mentors – June 7, 2008
Last year, Gov. Phil Bredesen called for 250 volunteers to mentor older foster children in the state’s child welfare system. Many of these teenagers have spent years in the system and will face leaving custody without being adopted or reunited with their birth families. Studies show that support, guidance and one-on-one attention from mentors increase the chances that at-risk teens will make successful transitions to the adult world. In its first year, the initiative – a program of the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet operated by Youth Villages in a partnership with the Department of Children’s Services – has exceeded all expectations. Across the state, 300 mentors have been paired with foster children exceeding the initial goal by 20 percent. Even with this significant progress, Bredesen and DCS Commissioner Viola Miller need help to care for the thousands of children who remain in state custody.

Children Grow Up Healthier in Enriched Foster Care
NPR – June 6, 2008
There are big, long-term health payoffs in mental and physical well-being when foster-care services to children are enhanced, a new study suggests. A new study, published in the latest edition of the Archives of General Psychiatry, looked at whether more enriched and supportive foster care can help mitigate some of the long-term problems foster kids face. The social and economic backgrounds of the two groups were similar, but one group had been placed in the states’ public foster-care systems. The other group had been put in a private foster-care program – which had more services for children and their foster parents. The extra services included mental health screening, tutoring, summer camps and job training for kids, as well as increased financial assistance and parenting training for foster parents. Of the 479 people who took part in the study, he found that those who had been given the enhanced foster care had dramatically few medical problems, such as heart disease, hypertension, ulcers and diabetes. They also had much lower rates of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse.

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