Monday, March 16, 2009

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Dropout rate vexes officials
The Republican, Turner Falls, ID – March 15, 2009
Figures released by the state last month showed that Turners Falls High School - the district's only high school - had a 19.8 percent dropout rate for students who entered in 2004 and left sometime before last spring. Principal Christine P. Jutres, talked about preventing students from dropping out. Drawing on the work of Robert Balfanz, a research scientist at the Center for Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins University, who has written extensively on high school dropouts, Jutres said that a successful start to education involves more than skills and socialization.

Diverting dropouts is new school's goal
The Marion Star, Marion, OH – March 13, 2009
A new community school is preparing to launch and reach out to dropouts and students in danger of leaving school. The Ohio Department of Education has approved Marion City Schools application to sponsor Rushmore Academy, a community conversion school that will be housed at the district's former Colonial Acres Elementary School at 1565 Amherst Drive. The school will serve junior high and high school students at risk of dropping out or students up through 21 years old who have dropped out and want to return to earn their high school diplomas.

Plan aims to help annual progress rates at Dundalk High
Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, MD – March 10, 2009
Baltimore County schools officials have developed a plan to improve student achievement and the graduation rate at Dundalk High School that includes replacing some school staff, fostering community ties and switching to a six-period day of classes.

Juvenile Justice

Upgraded Duval center to benefit Nassau juveniles
News-Leader, Jacksonville, FL – March 12, 2009
Improvements made to the Duval County Juvenile Assessment Center - paid for by Jacksonville - will benefit Nassau County youths who are charged with crimes and their families. Juveniles arrested in Nassau County are often released to the custody of a parent or guardian, but if an adult cannot be found, or the charge is so serious the child needs to be detained, they are booked into the juvenile holding facility in Jacksonville.

State's Juvenile Justice Act calls for alternatives to incarceration
Press-Register, Bay Minette, AL – March 14, 2009
Baldwin County government, law enforcement and judicial officials will be watching the spring break season closely to see how new state juvenile justice laws impact the handling of girls and boys gone wild. The Juvenile Justice Act calls for more counseling and community-based programs as alternatives to incarceration, and mandates that minors picked up for offenses that aren't considered adult crimes generally cannot be detained in a lockdown facility.

Foster Care

Foster kids find college help after 'aging out'
Associated Press – Richmond, VA – March 13, 2009
Community colleges in several states are working to establish stronger support systems for former foster-care children, who are more likely to wind up homeless or in jail than earn a degree as they struggle to overcome unstable lives. Among them is Virginia, where the Community College System's Great Expectations program uses grants and donations to provide money for tuition, transportation and living expenses.

California legislators consider extending foster care through age 21
Mercury News, Silicon Valley, CA – March 9, 2009
A bevy of bipartisan California legislators vowed Monday to be better parents to the state's foster youth, pledging to extend their life-sustaining benefits through age 21 rather than casting them off as teenagers. Currently, most youth "aging out" of foster care are bounced off state support at 18, a tender age for a vulnerable population that often has nowhere to go and no one to rely on. But an assembly bill written by Speaker Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, and Assemblyman Jim Beall, D-San Jose, would draw on newly available federal funds to support relative caregivers and transitional living programs through age 21.

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