Tuesday, September 30, 2008

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


‘Reach Out to Dropouts' finds many eager for second chance
My San Antonio News – September 28, 2008
It wasn't the knock on the door that got the attention of Michelle Lopez. It was the phone call at home. The principal would like to see you in his office. Uh-oh. That was one thought that flashed through her mind. “What have I done wrong?” was another. There was no need to panic. The principal didn't want to punish Lopez. He wanted to make a pitch.

District rallies to reduce dropouts
Sun Herald – September 29, 2008
School districts throughout Jackson County are holding a pep rally of sorts Tuesday, but it isn't for any sporting event. Rather, schools, businesses, government officials and parents are joining together to learn how they can work together to reduce the dropout rate throughout the county. More than 1,000 people are expected for the Jackson County Destination Graduation Dropout Summit, an event that will bring stakeholders together from different parts of the community to address this problem.

Learning to stick with it
The News Gazette – September 28, 2008
At this time last year, Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School freshman Brad Isernhagen found himself frequently getting into trouble with his parents, schools and the law. A year later, the 16-year-old from Paxton is a cadet at Lincoln's Challenge Academy, patrolling the dormitory halls as a squad leader and studying algebra so he might one day join the Air National Guard.

Juvenile Justice

County juvenile justice strategy gets notice
Indy Star – September 23, 2008
Indianapolis is playing host this week to a national conference on juvenile detention reform that will highlight the early success of changes at Marion County's lockup. The event, which started Monday night, focuses on an approach to juvenile justice that reduces reliance on incarceration. Since the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center adopted the program in 2006, admissions have declined by more than half.

Service helps kids in trouble
Pierce County Herald – September 23, 2008
A boy can now identify a dozen varieties of apples by sight. A girl learned to listen to nursing home residents. Youngsters learned responsibility by washing county trucks. Juveniles may go into Pierce County’s community service program grumbling, but they gain new skills, make connections, work with adult role models and learn the joy of being useful and appreciated, said social workers.

Foster Care

A way to help foster youth to age 21
Jackson County Floridan – September 26, 2008
Thanks to the efforts of Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., a crucial piece of foster care legislation passed both houses and is expected to become law. The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act would offer federal support to states that extend foster care services to young people between the ages of 18 and 21. The measure also requires states to work with these youth on a transition plan for employment and housing.

Former foster children helping Fla. learn lessons
The Jackson Times – September 26, 2008
It wouldn’t have been surprising if India Marrero turned her back on the Department of Children & Families once she turned 18 and could finally walk away from the foster care system. But instead of putting DCF in her past when she aged out, she is now working for the agency as part of a program to hire young adults who have recently left the foster care system. The goal of the program — the only one like it in the country — is to help former foster children who need a job and to have DCF employees learn from their experiences.

New ‘Aging Out’ initiative helps foster kids transition into adults
The St. Louis American – September 25, 2008
Joy, 17, will be aging out of foster care soon. But thanks to a new program, her transition into adulthood should be easier than most. Joy (who had to keep her full name confidential because of Department of Social Services guidelines) is one of 200 teens in the St. Louis Aging Out Initiative, a program geared toward youth between the ages of 16 and 18 who are in State custody and approaching release from State-supported care.

Monday, September 15, 2008

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


PJSA goes door-to-door for dropouts
KGBT4.com – September 14, 2008
One parent wants to tell students who have dropped out of school across the Rio Grande Valley, "Yes, you can." When moral support comes along, it helps us and that motivates them the students," Cuevas told Action 4 News. "That someone cares about them and they still have time to do something."

New school in Tokyo offers free education for high school dropouts, Net cafe refugees
The Mainichi Daily News – September 14, 2008
A cram school operator has opened a special tuition-free school in downtown Tokyo to help so-called "Net cafe refugees", high school dropouts and others who are too poor to graduate from secondary education.Keisetsu Gijuku in the Sendagaya district of Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, was founded by Shotaro Namekata, 48, and others. School officials say they will offer free education for students wanting to pass the certificate of proficiency for high school graduates.

D-11 program coaxes dropouts back to school
The Gazette – September 13, 2008
For every 100 students who start high school in Colorado Springs School District 11, more than 30 don't graduate with their class. A couple of months ago, it looked as if A.J. Duran would be among them, a dropout from the class of 2009. Now, he's enrolled in Palmer Night School, and he thinks he can make up his credit deficiencies through some special programs. His mind, he says, is "set on graduating with my class in the spring."

Education association seeks community input on how to keep kids in school
The Saginaw News – September 19, 2008
The Michigan Education Association is sponsoring a public hearing Monday to talk about high school dropout solutions for Saginaw County. This is the ninth of 10 such hearings planned by the group to stir community reaction to help keep kids in school.

Juvenile Justice

Juvenile center acts to control population
CourierPostOnline.com – September 15, 2008
Camden County's Youth Detention Center was notorious for overcrowding, riots, assaults and rapes, he said, and the boy would have been held without treatment for 93 days. The county could help solve the problem, DiCamillo said, by using GPS-based electronic monitoring bracelets -- something it didn't have. In the past few months, though, the technology has been paired with the county's implementation of a national program designed to reform juvenile justice systems. And officials say it is helping.

Missouri leads the nation in juvenile justice reform
St. Louis Post-Dispatch – September 14, 2008
Hope for the once-fallen teen sparkles in an emerald green class ring under the fluorescent lights of the Hogan Street Regional Youth Center. "It's a blessing," says Terrell, 17, fingering the ring he earned for passing his GED exam with 1,000 points to spare. He was awarded the ring at a cap-and-gown ceremony last month in the facility's gym, where he was cheered on by 29 other teens also serving sentences for serious and sometimes violent crimes.

Juvenile program 'a place of last resort,' not rehabilitation
Star Tribune – September 10, 2008
Hennepin County is spending too much on residential treatment programs for juvenile offenders and could save money and get better results by leaving more young offenders with their families and placing them in daytime rehabilitation programs. That's the finding of a study group made up of judges and corrections officials who recommend overhauling programs at the Hennepin County Home School.

Hope of Redemption, Rehabilitation
Mount Vernon Gazette – September 17, 2008
Rody Phillips, 14 years old when he fatally stabbed a Mount Vernon 7-Eleven clerk in December 2004, turns 18 next week. Last Friday, Sept. 12, Judge Marcus D. Williams presided over Phillips’ first status conference in Fairfax County Circuit Court since Williams sentenced the teenager to the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice in September 2006. Ultimately, Williams could release Phillips when he is deemed rehabilitated. Or Williams could send Phillips to prison for the 25 years Williams suspended from Phillips’ sentence for first-degree murder and attempted robbery.

Foster Care

Expanded programs benefit kids in foster care
Times-Standard – September 14, 2008
At any given time, about 250 children are in foster care in Humboldt County. And being in foster care usually means a child has experienced a stressful or traumatic family situation. That's why the Department of Health and Human Services is expanding its programs to make sure every child in the system gets the care he or she needs earlier. Ten more mental health case managers and three clinicians are being hired to work with Child Welfare Services social workers and public health nurses. They will create holistic plans that will address each child's health and mental health needs.

New Library Outreach Program Promotes Literacy To Foster Children
The Jackson Times – September 13, 2008
Homebound and Volunteer Services of the Ocean County Library has launched Sparks' B.F.F. Reading Club, a new county-wide outreach program. B.F.F. stands for Best Friends Forever. This program will encourage children and teens to visit the library and take advantage of the many services and materials Ocean County Library has to offer. Sparks, the library mascot, plans to visit the reading club participants at future state-sponsored Ocean County foster family events.

Job fair helps at-risk youth explore possibilities
Broomfield Enterprise – September 21, 2008
More than 47 youth, who are involved in the Adams County Social Services system, participated in a Chafee Program Education and Career Training Fair on Aug. 13 at Front Range Community College in Westminster. The fair was hosted by the Best Practice Court Youth Involvement Committee of the Court of the 17th Judicial District and Adams County Social Services Department. Participating youth had the opportunity to visit with representatives from universities, state and community colleges, vocational training programs, apprenticeships and financial aid.visit the reading club participants at future state-sponsored Ocean County foster family events.

Monday, September 08, 2008

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


GISD goes after dropout students
The Daily News – September 8, 2008
Ovidio Sanchez, 18, stopped going to school when he realized he could make good money spending his days at Gulf Copper Dry Dock and Rig Repair instead of inside a Ball High School classroom. After four months of work and three months in jail, Sanchez said he wanted to go back to school. The Galveston public school district administrators who roused him from bed Saturday morning gave him just the push he needed to go back to school.

Reaching out to dropouts
Youth Radio – September 7, 2008
For some, the path to graduation can be frought with obstacles. Saturday, educators and concerned citizens reached out to dropouts to help them continue on the track to graduation. This year's Reach Out to Dropouts Walk kicked off at Madison High School in south Houston. Volunteers went to the homes of dropouts to encourage them to return to school.

Mayor, officials drop in on dropouts
El Paso Times – September 7, 2008
A crew of principals, teachers and campus administrators of the El Paso Independent School District, together with elected officials and local celebrities, went door-to-door Saturday to encourage high-school dropouts to return to school. Britaney Hernandez, a 17-year-old single mother, dropped out after she could not afford day care for her 2-year-old son. As EPISD declared dropout prevention and recovery the focus for this school year, Superintendent Lorenzo Garcia joined Mayor John Cook to call on Hernandez.

Juvenile Justice

Highfields program aims to guide at-risk girls
Lansing State Journal – September 8, 2008
Although the kinds of crimes committed by girls do not differ much from boys, the reasons behind their behavior are often different."In some ways, boys act out and girls act in," said Tim Monroe, who oversees treatment programs at Highfields, a nonprofit that has started a new program, called Girls Gender-Specific, that specifically targets at-risk girls. It seeks to change the behaviors that lead girls to commit crimes or fall into truancy problems.

Juvenile justice gets $2.8 million facility
Myrtle Beach Sun News – September 7, 2008
A nonprofit group presented the Department of Juvenile Justice with a $2.8 million facility where offenders can connect with family members, therapists, educators and others as they prepare to re-enter society. The 10,000-square-foot Bill Rogers Community Connections Center opened at DJJ's Broad River Road complex this weekend.

County increases capacity of juvenile rehab programs
Milpitas Post – September 3, 2008
Santa Clara County has taken several steps to increase the capacity of the rehabilitation programs it offers to high-risk youth in our juvenile justice system. In June, the Board of Supervisors approved the addition of 24 beds at the county's William F. James Ranch that staff will accomplish by installing temporary facilities. In August, the board contracted with a community based organization to provide space for six probation youth in its residential program for at-risk youth.

Foster Care

Valley Voices: Struggling child safety group tries harder
The Modesto Bee – September 8, 2008
Assistant Director Jan Viss helps run Stanislaus County's Community Services Agency, Child and Family Serv- ices Division, known to the community as CPS. Much of the work this agency does flies below the radar because of the strict confidentiality laws that govern its services. Last year, callers reported the abuse or neglect of 10,234 children on the county's child abuse hot line. Of those cases, CPS decided about 1,000 were serious enough to warrant assigned caseworkers. Nearly 400 of those children received services from the agency while staying at home. Almost 600 others were removed by the court to live with family, in foster care or to be adopted or placed under someone else's legal guardianship.

Keeping foster kids on right track
The Seattle Times – September 8, 2008
Washington state has been under a court order to improve its track record in foster care. A survey of youths once in the system highlights progress. About 88 percent of 700 teens interviewed by phone said they had been treated very well or somewhat well in foster care. An equal percentage reported being in good health and feeling optimistic about their futures. Those interviewed were between ages 15 to 18 and in foster care in 2007.

Call to aid youth leaving care
They Sydney Morning Herald – September 7, 2008
Those who have grown up in care say more support for young adults leaving foster homes, group accommodation and juvenile institutions is needed to help them fend for themselves. At the start of National Child Protection Week today, Jacqui Reed, the chief executive of the CREATE Foundation, which helps those in so-called out-of-home care, said transition to independent living was "the biggest burning issue". The call for greater assistance for young people comes as figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show the number of children in care nationally has almost doubled in the past 10 years, growing from 3 per 1000 children to 5.8 per 1000 at June 30, 2007.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Youth in Transition: This Week's News


Freedom’s dropout rate sinks
The News Herald – September 1, 2008
How do you prevent 40 percent of a high school's students from dropping out before they graduate? Freedom High School in Morganton starts by treating each one as an individual, not as a number. It's part of a multi-faceted effort to help more students graduate. According to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, Freedom High's campaign is scoring exceptional results. Freedom High's graduation rate surpassed more than 235 other N.C. schools' after 77 percent of the FHS Class of 2008 graduated this past spring. That is a remarkable turnaround in only two years. The FHS Class of 2006 had 630 freshmen. Almost 40 percent dropped out and less than 400 graduated. Freedom High's graduation rate ranked with the state's lowest fourth.

Leaders Brainstorm About School Dropout Prevention
RedOrbit – September 1, 2008
Local educators joined with leaders of nonprofit groups, city government, law enforcement, students and parents Thursday to brainstorm ideas for improving graduation rates at Tulsa high schools. The city and the University of Tulsa hosted the "Keeping Our Promise Dropout Prevention Summit" at TU. The event was sponsored by the America's Promise Alliance, which was founded by former Secretary of State Colin Powell. Tulsa was selected as the site of the second such summit because it ranked 12th among metropolitan areas in the U.S. for disparity of graduation rates between urban and suburban districts.

Dropout figures prompt new efforts
The Muskegon Chronicle – August 26, 2008
The issue of high school dropouts has taken on greater urgency in recent months, with a local effort under way to tackle the issue, and a commitment by United Way to also address it. Muskegon Public Schools has devoted two full-time staff members to keeping kids in school and bringing dropouts back. The new computations by the state were made possible by a relatively new system of tracking each individual student. As a result, the state released a variety of rates reflecting how many students are staying in school and graduating.

Juvenile Justice

Pendleton High School sold on restorative justice
Independent Mail – August 31, 2008
Pendleton High School Principal Danny Merck believes in restorative justice. Merck says the restorative justice program that the school initiated several years ago has reduced dramatically the number of fights among Pendleton High students. “We used to have a problem with fighting among students. … But since we have been using the restorative justice approach, we have cut the number to just a few fights a year,” Merck said.

Public responds to state report on racial disparity in youth services
News-Sentinel – August 28, 2008
In Allen and six other Indiana counties with the largest percentage of African-American youths, black youths are more than twice as likely to be arrested and are twice as likely to be transferred to adult court than other youths. Black teens are also more likely to be locked up than non-black teens for committing the same crimes, a 2007 study by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, ICJI, found. Those and other findings led to 2007 legislation creating a commission to address racial disparities in youth services. During a videoconference meeting Wednesday, recommendations were presented to the public gathered at seven sites around the state, including Ivy Tech Community College in Fort Wayne.

Foster Care

Reaching out to kids in trouble
The Leaf Chronicle - September 2, 2008
Drug abuse is the No. 1 cause of neglect cases in Montgomery County, said Johnson, who serves as liaison for the Foster Care Review Boards. Johnson also recruits volunteers for the boards and helps children through the foster care system. According to a July report, 211 children in Montgomery County are in state custody. Of those, 50 are children involved in delinquency cases, and 156 are children caught up in dependency or neglect cases. Five children are involved in unruliness cases.

Keeping families whole
Baltimore Sun – September 2, 2008
A recent study by Advocates for Children and Youth, a group that lobbies for children's issues in Maryland, found that while African-Americans make up only a third of the state's children, they constitute nearly three-quarters of the children removed from their homes, and are five times more likely than white children to be placed in group or foster home care. Yet rates of maltreatment among black and white families are virtually identical. This week, ACY will ask Gov. Martin O'Malley to issue an executive order that begins to address these disparities. The order would direct the state Department of Human Resources to identify specific sources of bias within the current child welfare system and to retrain child welfare workers in family-centered practices aimed at keeping more African-American children in their homes. The advocates want to redirect funds not being used for foster families toward a team approach to resolve problems that affect the entire family and ensure that they get the services they need.