Monday, July 13, 2009

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Mentor program takes aim at dropout rate
Montgomery Advertiser, Montgomery, AL – July 13, 2009
Montgomery Public Schools and Partners in Edu­cation are launching a pilot mentoring program for the upcoming school year in five Montgomery schools in hopes of improving the school system's dropout rate. The pilot program will be offered at Bellingrath Junior High, Goodwyn Junior High, McIntyre Middle, McKee Junior High and Southlawn Middle schools twice a week, said Donna Cash, mentoring program director for PIE.

Schools Work To Keep Dropouts In
NWA Online, Bentonville, AR – July 11, 2009
Dropping out of high school costs the students future income and society the taxes from that income, but efforts to keep kids in school show limited results. Jack Loyd, assistant principal at Bentonville High School, and other educators say the country is in the midst of a dropout crisis. Gary Ritter, director of the Office of Education Policy at the University of Arkansas, says the dropout rate hasn't changed much in 30 years, remaining constant at 25 percent to 30 percent, with one in four students dropping out before graduation.

High school dropouts in Riviera might soon have an opportunity be paid to learn trades, fix homes
Palm Beach Post, Riviera Beach, FL – July 11, 2009
Take high school dropouts or young adults working in dead-end jobs and teach them building trades while they get paid to repair blighted homes and continue their education. That's the model for YouthBuild, a national nonprofit founded in 1990 that is gaining a foothold in Riviera Beach. Riviera Beach Maritime Academy President George Carter hopes to win approval from YouthBuild USA to start a Riviera Beach chapter by December. Carter's goal is to have the chapter up and running with about 20 participants in time to repair a home for Christmas.

Juvenile Justice

Illinois Budget a Really Bad Harbinger for 2010
Youth Today, Illinois – June 18, 2009
For all of the political chicanery associated with Illinois, its services to youth involved with the child welfare system are regarded by many to be the gold standard among the 50 states. And with the help of some serious foundation investments in reform, its juvenile justice system has made notable strides. So it does not bode well for youth workers across the country that, faced with a large budget gap for next year, the state general assembly signed off on a budget that does nothing short of decimate the programs that have helped Illinois stand out.

Locking up juveniles isn't the only option
Star Tribune, Casper, WY – July 6, 2009
It's not making headlines yet, but most Wyoming counties are taking action behind the scenes aimed at improving the juvenile justice system. Fifteen of the state's 23 counties, plus the two tribes on the Wind River Indian Reservation, have notified the Department of Family Services of their intention to seek grants to form juvenile services boards. The applications for the grants, which range from $50,000 to $286,000, aren't due until the end of the year.

Experiment yields drop in juvenile detention
Start Tribune, Minneapolis, MN – July 7, 2009
An experiment designed to divert teens -- especially teens of color -- from the juvenile justice system has produced a dramatic decline in detention use, with Ramsey County reporting a 57 percent drop since 2005 and Hennepin and Dakota counties reporting 33 percent. The Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative is based on research showing that most young offenders don't need to be jailed to get them to show up in court or keep the streets safe, organizers said.

Foster Care

$1M in federal funds will aid Isle teens leaving foster care
Honolulu Advertiser, Honolulu, HI – July 10, 2009
The state Department of Human Services has received more than $1 million in housing funds from the federal government to help young people just out of foster care. The money, from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, will be used for foster children turning 18 without a permanent family who find themselves in tenuous living arrangements or substandard and overcrowded living conditions.

Ruth's Chris offering youths skills
San Antonio Express-News, San Antonio, TX – July 11, 2009
Sometimes, all someone needs is a chance. This month, three young adults who are transitioning out of foster care are getting a break from two people at a local Ruth's Chris Steak House who know their struggles. Tonnika Lassiter, Tony Cerritos and Joshua Jordan, who live at Turning Point, Roy Maas' Youth Alternatives transitional living program, are getting 10 days of intense culinary training. The training, which ends July 18, includes interviewing, food preparation, baking, broiling, front desk operations, service etiquette and myriad other tasks — including tasting — at the restaurant known for its sizzling steaks.

Young people transitioning out of foster care learn to be financially literate
The Providence Journal, Providence, RI – July 13, 2009
Yolanda Washburn drives a 1997 Chrysler Concord. It’s not the spiffiest ride in the lot at the Community College of Rhode Island, which she attends, but it’s better than the alternative. Washburn, 18, a former foster child, knew she needed a car and purchased her ride in January using money she saved up in a program called ASPIRE, a savings and financial planning vehicle offered by the Rhode Island Foster Parents Association.

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