Monday, November 17, 2008

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


New program attempts to narrow an education gap
Star Tribune – November 17, 2008
Minnesota consistently ranks in the top five states in test scores, high school graduation and college participation rates. And yet, even here, thousands of students drop out or fail to pursue any postsecondary education. Enter Ramp-Up to Readiness. A project of the College Readiness Consortium at the University of Minnesota, Ramp-Up has the ambitious goal of increasing the number and diversity of Minnesota students at postsecondary institutions.

Elizabeth City-Pasquotank schools sees its number of dropouts fall – November 16, 2008
Jackson nearly left school last year before Sawyer, guidance counselor June Gibbs and others persuaded him to finish. Keeping Jackson and others like him in school is a priority nationally and statewide as dropout rates continue to rise. State and elected officials have created programs to curb the problem but without clear success. City schools tend to be the worst. In Elizabeth City, the numbers are improving. Since 2003, the number of dropouts in Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools has fallen from 129 to 81 at the end of the 2007- 08 school year. With about 1,700 high school students, Elizabeth City-Pasquotank has many of the same struggles as large inner-city schools, Sawyer said.

New program at Tempe High, Marcos targets at-risk kids
AZ – November 13, 2008
A few credits shy of earning his high school diploma, Tempe High School senior Dontae Bess, 18, is in a place many peers who share his past never reach. Bess was selected to represent Arizona at the JAG national conference in Washington, D.C., next month. New to Tempe High this year, JAG is a national program aimed at students who face obstacles that usually prevent them from graduating. Discipline problems, having parents who are high school dropouts, being a teen parent or, as in Bess' case, having a parent in prison, are among the long list of barriers JAG cites.

Juvenile Justice

Juvenile Justice Council working on Teen Court
Mt. Vernon Register-News – November 17, 2008
Organizers, in conjunction with the Juvenile Justice Council, are getting closer to their goal of implementing a Teen Court in which juvenile offenders would be juried by their peers. The council met early last week to discuss preliminary action plans and steps needed to begin the process of implementing the peer jury.

Program aims to help agencies work together
Sioux City Journal – November 15, 2008
Arrested for drunken driving while returning home from a party, Meis spent a year in the juvenile court system. But he successfully completed probation and, now 19, plans to attend school to become a police officer. And on Monday, he'll be on his way to Washington, D.C., as part of a group of local child-welfare advocates, juvenile-justice officials and volunteers who will attend training at Georgetown University in Washington. Sioux City is one of seven sites chosen to participate in the university's Juvenile Justice Reform Center's Certificate Program Breakthrough Series Collaborative.

Foster Care

Raising Kids Of Relatives Could Bring Federal Funds
Washington Post – November 17, 2008
A new federal law would steer monthly financial support to people who take in children their relatives have abused or neglected, a development expected to expand such assistance in Maryland and the District and perhaps launch a similar effort in Virginia.

Bipartisan legislation helps foster care and adoption
The Progress – November 14, 2008
Last week, in the midst of stock market meltdowns and election politics, a historic, bipartisan piece of legislation called the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act – H.F. 6893 was quietly signed into law. The bill will significantly improve the nation’s child welfare system, increasing children’s chances to leave foster care for permanent, loving homes, and extending foster care to youth from 18 to 21 years of age. Children’s Aid and Family Services applauds the legislators who reached across the aisle to come to a consensus on behalf of this vulnerable population.

New hope for foster teens – November 16, 2008
Life must go on for foster kids who don't get adopted. But, they're often thrown into the world with little hope after they turn 18. Now, a new project is providing these teens with opportunity. With shovels in hand, adoption advocates marked the start of a project that will turn an empty lot in Vero Beach, into a center that will build opportunity for folks like Christine Bury and Sancia Jentil.

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