Sunday, February 15, 2009

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


At-risk students rethink leaving school
El Paso Times, El Paso, TX – February 14, 2009
An urge to drop out of school has always nagged Stephanie Hernandez. But on Friday the freshman from Bowie High School changed her mind. About 150 students from a handful of campuses participated in the YWCA's "Don't Drop" conference at Andress High School.

Bills would give students options
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta, GA – February 14, 2009
Georgia’s high school students could face new graduation requirements, learn skills in different careers and take more college courses through three different bills filed in the state House. The bills overhaul high schools to give students more options so they are more likely to stay in school. Education leaders say they have mixed feelings about the bills. While some could benefit students, they said, others could weaken graduation requirements.

Targeting dropouts
The Daily Advertiser, Lafayette, LA – February 11, 2009
About 35 percent of freshmen who enter ninth grade in Louisiana do not graduate four years later. Those students might take five years to graduate, enter a pre-General Education Degree program or - most likely - dropout, State Superintendent Paul Pastorek told about 100 area educators on Tuesday. Louisiana has the fifth lowest graduation rate in the country. In four years, Pastorek's goal is to raise the Louisiana graduation rate from 65 percent to 80 percent.

Juvenile Justice

Bipartisan Crime Prevention Bill Takes Smart Approach to Juvenile Justice, Washington, DC – February 13, 2009
A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced H.R.1064 and S. 435, identical House and Senate bills to fund prevention and intervention programs that are comprehensive, community-centered and evidence-based efforts to combat gangs and youth violence.

Juvenile justice system striving to address needs of at-risk youth
Plainview Daily Herald, Plainview, TX – February 10, 2009
Austin-based child advocacy lobby Texans Care for Children noted in the 2009 edition of its Children's Campaign Report that 38 percent of youth sent to TYC facilities in 2006 were diagnosed as having "serious mental health problems," including substance abuse or addiction. Texans Care advocates a variety of "wrap-around" services that are available to juveniles after they exit the TYC facilities. Texans Care Director of Communications Christine Sinatra defines wrap-around services as "all the support a young person needs to cope with the circumstances that put him or her at-risk.

Foster Care

Woman combines love of cooking with youth work
Examiner, Frederick, MD – February 13, 2009
For Elin Ross, cooking came first. Ross has combined a lifetime of cooking and with a career in youth advocacy to create a unique program in downtown Frederick. In the spring, Ross plans to open a cafe named Moxie, all called Cakes for Cause. Cakes for Cause, a nonprofit, will provide job training and support to vulnerable local youth, 16 to 21 years old, growing out of the foster care system.

Congressional Care Package Day Rallies Support for America’s Foster Youth
The Earth Times, Washington, DC – February 12, 2009
At the 15th annual Orphan Foundation of America (OFA) Congressional Care Package Day yesterday on Capitol Hill, members of Congress and Jett Williams, country music star, OFA spokesperson and daughter of the legendary Hank Williams, assembled gifts of encouragement for foster youth attending colleges and trade schools across the country. Foster students from 11 states also participated.

Comprehensive Legislation to Help foster Youth Filed Today
Alaska Report, Palmer, AK – February 11, 2009
The statistics are sobering. Forty percent of foster youth in Alaska end up homeless after leaving foster care. The foster youth high school drop out rate is twice as high as that of their peers in stable homes, and their college attendance rates are less than half the national average. Today two legislators, Rep. Les Gara and Sen. Bettye Davis (both D-Anch.) filed bills to fix the major problems faced by Alaska's foster youth.

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