Monday, August 24, 2009

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Decreasing state's high school dropout rate is summit's goal
Lexington Herald-Leader, Frankfort, KY – August 20, 2009
Almost 6,500 students dropped out of Kentucky schools in 2008 — enough to make up a good-size small town — and faced an uncertain employment future without a high school diploma. Kentucky first lady Jane Beshear said Wednesday that the state can't afford to keep sending so many young people handicapped by an incomplete education into an increasingly competitive job market. "Together, as a community, we must find ways to keep all of our students engaged and in school," she said in a statement. Accordingly, Beshear will host a summit in Frankfort on Sept. 11-12 called Graduate Kentucky: A Community Approach. It's aimed at developing a statewide action plan to raise Kentucky graduation rates and help prepare more young people for success in life.

Fort Jackson program helps recruits earn GED
The Herald, Columbia, SC – August 23, 2009
At 19, Brian May was making $60,000 a year at a wood mill near his home in Mount Vernon, Wash., but then the economy tanked. So May, who was married and the father of a small boy, joined the Army. There was a problem: May didn't have a high school diploma or GED certificate. At one time, people such as Pvt. May would have been out of luck. But May landed in a program at Fort Jackson aimed at helping recruits earn a GED, which stands for General Educational Development.

Autauga, Elmore schools look for ways to lower dropout numbers
Prattville Progress, Autauga, AL – August 24, 2009
As the new school year begins, improving the tri-county area's high school dropout rates is on the minds of educators who recently learned that their high schools failed to meet federal education standards for the 2008-2009 school year because of graduation rates. High school dropout rates in Montgomery, Autauga and Elmore counties' public school systems as well as others throughout the state can hinder Alabama's education goals and affect the state's economic health, experts contend.

Juvenile Justice

Future plans ready by end of year
The Advocate, Louisiana – August 24, 2009
Louisiana juvenile justice officials say future plans for the transition from correctional care to therapeutic treatment will be ready at the end of the year. Members of a commission charged with improving the juvenile justice system and advocacy groups say little progress has been made in the six years that the state has been working on the system.

Juvenile Justice Agency Starts Free Lawn-Service Program
The Washington Post, Washington, DC – August 20, 2009
Elderly residents of Ward 5 in the District will get their lawns cut once a month free through a program created by the city's juvenile justice agency to give youths under court supervision a chance to give back to the community. The D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services kicked off this year's program last week at the Northeast home of Eddye L. Williams, 109, thought to be the city's oldest resident.

Summit offers hope for teen minorities
Post-Tribune, Indiana – August 20, 2009
The Indiana State Bar Association is hosting "Summit on Racial Disparities in the Juvenile Justice System" on Aug. 27. While summits come and go and often have little impact, this one could be special. Organizers and participants know there are too many minorities in the juvenile justice system. They want to find out why and reduce those numbers in the future. The areas of focus are child welfare, juvenile justice, education and mental health systems.

Foster Care

Foster good outcomes
Orlando Sentinel, Central Florida – August 24, 2009
With retired Gen. Colin Powell at his side, then-Gov. Jeb Bush launched the Governor's Mentoring Initiative, an ambitious campaign to enlist 200,000 Floridians into the mentoring ranks. Plans are in the works for pilot mentoring programs at two Central Florida foster group homes this fall. The pilot, in particular, aims to help the hundreds of teenagers who will soon "age out" of foster care so they can negotiate the treacherous transition to adulthood. Such a focused effort from the lauded mentoring initiative is not only critical, but also long overdue.

Programs give direction to foster kids
Amarillo Globe-News, Amarillo, TX - August 19, 2009
Twin extra long. They're three words most every mother who's sent a child off to college knows. The nonstandard sheet size is the standard in college dormitories across America. Buy a sheet too short, and the mattress bows up or the sheet corners rip. It's twin extra long for a good night's sleep. But not every child has a mother obsessively shopping for twin-extra-long sheets to outfit a dorm room bed. Too often it's left to others to provide the care, the nurturing and the love to raise a child. An aunt, a grandmother, a foster parent may be charged with a mother's usual duties, but sometimes the need is greater. Proper care requires a home. Presbyterian Home for Children shelters 35 to 40 youths and another 10 older teens about to age out of foster care and face the world as adults.

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