Monday, July 27, 2009

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Obama unveils $4 billion school improvement plan
Reuters, Washington, DC – July 24, 2009
President Barack Obama on Friday announced a competition for $4 billion in federal grants to improve academic achievement and reverse a decline in U.S. public schools. The United States has one of the worst high school dropout rates in the industrialized world, and its students often rank below those in other Western nations in reading and math. Obama has portrayed the drive to improve education as part of a broader push to promote economic growth in the face of a deep recession and the worst U.S. financial crisis in decades.

Circle de Luz helps nurture young Latinas
Davidson News, Davidson, NC – July 27, 2009
Rosie Molinary is on a mission. And she’s bringing 55 of her closest friends. (I know, because I am one of them.) They call themselves “M’ijas” (a contraction meaning “my girlfriends” and pronounced “mee-has”), and they are working to empower young Latinas to graduate from high school through mentoring, programming and a promise of a scholarship upon graduation from high school.

Oconee County mentoring program aims at reducing dropouts
Independent Mail, Oconee County, SC – July 24, 2009
Oconee County’s high school dropout rate is about 25 percent, which is better than the statewide average, but county school and civic leaders say they think they can lower it. One means of doing that, they say, is a new program that will pair troubled students in danger of becoming dropouts with adult mentors from business, law enforcement or other vocations.

Juvenile Justice

Pilot program for juvenile sex offenders a success
KPLC TV, Lake Charles, LA – July 23, 2009
Sex offenders, are not just adults... It's a problem among juveniles... In fact, it's such a problem that three years ago, Calcasieu Parish was chosen for a pilot program to treat juvenile sex offenders. And there are signs it's reducing the number of repeat offenders. Police, investigators, counselors and members of the justice system came together at the Lake Charles Civic Center for training on juvenile sex offenders. The pilot project to provide treatment for juveniles includes intensive counseling and monitoring.

Program aids abused kids
The Clarion-Ledger, Rankin County, MS, July 27, 2009
Rankin County Youth Court Judge Tom Broome sees it far too often - victims of abuse or neglect back in front of him, now accused as perpetrators. "What we see is a pipeline from dependency to delinquency to criminality," he said. "They go from being abused children to delinquents to criminals." That's why Rankin County officials are starting Project FABRIC (Fostering Achievement by Risk Intervention Collaboration) this fall, aimed at intervening early in the lives of these at-risk youth.

Foster Care

Foster children find friends in mentors
Honolulu Star Bulletin, Honolulu, HI – July 27, 2009
Jackie Gamboa was 12 when she entered foster care and did not leave until 2003, when she was 18. "My parents were from the Philippines. There were no child abuse laws in the Philippines, and what they did there they did here," the 23-year-old said. Gamboa manages Kapiolani Child Protection Center's Peer Mentoring Program. She plans to teach elementary school after earning a bachelor's degree in education from the University of Hawaii next year. The mentors, all current or former foster children, provide one-on-one assistance and support services under staff supervision to "mentees" — new foster kids from ages 6 to 12.

$4 million is set for foster care, Michigan – July 21, 2009
The state will help Michigan's troubled families stay together and better support its foster children as they move toward permanent homes -- if all works as expected with $4 million it sets aside under a U.S. District Court consent decree. The funds focus on three areas: $1.5 million to support foster youth who are aging out of the system without families, $1.5 million to help foster youth return to their own families or move to new families and $1 million for prevention services that may help families stay together, according to a letter by the court-appointed monitor released Monday.

Program places foster kids in private schools
Santa Monica Daily Press, Santa Monica, CA – July 21, 2009
The beginning of senior year might still be more than a month away but Tyree Johnson already has big plans laid out for college. Johnson is one of 150 foster children who have been placed in independent and charter schools through the Center for Educational Opportunity, a program under Santa Monica-based New Vision Foundation designed to put at-risk students on the track to higher education, helping them with not only the application process for the secondary schools, but also in securing financial aid.

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