Tuesday, September 29, 2009

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Walk's goal: Get Des Moines dropouts back in class
Des Moines Register, Des Moines, IA – September 25, 2009
More than 100 high school dropouts have re-enrolled in the Des Moines district this fall, thanks to a new outreach initiative. District officials hope a community walk Saturday will bring back hundreds more who have dropped out in the past two years. "Even if we get one or two students back because of this, that's a success," said Bryce Amos, a Des Moines schools executive director. Des Moines continues to have a difficult time keeping students in school.

Washington Co. school dropout rate declines
The Herald-Mail, Washington County, MD – September 26, 2009
The dropout rate in Washington County Public Schools has declined steadily over the last decade. In 2000, 5.55 percent, or 339 seniors, dropped out of high school, according to statistics provided by the school system. That number fell to 110, or 1.56 percent, during the 2008-09 academic year. Carol Costello, the school system’s supervisor of alternative programs and student services, said intervention specialists at the middle- and high-school levels were responsible for a lot of the success.

New CCSF/SFUSD Partnership to Focus on Recovery of High School Dropouts
Mission Dispatch, San Francisco, CA – September 25, 2009
Gateway to College National Network announced Aug. 28 the launching of the Gateway to College program at City College of San Francisco. The first Gateway to College students started classes on Aug. 17 at the College’s Southeast Campus. City College received a $300,000 start-up grant from the Gateway to College National Network to create a unique San Francisco collaborative to provide greater service for high school dropouts. The City College program currently serves 50 students, and is expected to serve up to 300 through its first three years of operation.

Juvenile Justice

Big Brothers Big Sisters wins grant to mentor ex-youth offenders
San Antonio Business Journal, San Antonio, TX – September 25, 2009
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention will award Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas $625,000 in grant funding over the next three years to provide mentoring services to juvenile offenders being released from Texas Youth Commission facilities. The money will support Big Brothers Big Sisters’ “Second Chance Mentoring Project.”

Raise the age legislation offers hope for troubled youth
Hartford Public Schools Examiner, Hardford, CT – September 27, 2009
One bad move—destruction of property, a pocket full of marijuana, or a school fight could steal a youth’s future. Connecticut is only one of three states to try 16-year olds as adults. According to the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance statistics 95% of our youth are arrested for nonviolent, minor offenses. If convicted, they will serve time in an adult prison. One wrong decision could put a troubled 16-year old behind bars, tried in an adult court. Raise the Age reform worked to pass legislation in 2007 that will take effect January 1st, 2010 and place the 16-year old in the juvenile jurisdiction.

Benchmark report will guide juvenile system, Family Courts
Missourinet, Missouri – September 23, 2009
A new report confirms the experience of veteran juvenile officers and provides the information needed to insure juvenile programs actually keep kids from pursuing a life of crime. Deputy State Courts Administrator Gary Waint says this report is important to the state juvenile justice system and its Family Courts. "This is benchmark work that will begin to allow us now to trend how we're performing as a juvenile justice system," Waint says, "and inform the public about of it as well."

Supreme Court to consider juvenile 'lifers'
Chicago Tribune, Washington, DC – September 28, 2009
Joe Sullivan was 13 years old when he and two older boys broke into a home, where they robbed and raped an elderly woman. After a one-day trial in 1989, Sullivan was sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole. Terrance Graham was 16 when he and two others robbed a restaurant. When he was arrested again a year later for a home break-in, a Florida judge said he was incorrigible. In 2005, Graham received a life term with no parole. According to Amnesty International, "The United States is the only country in the world that does not comply with the norm against imposing life-without-parole sentences on juveniles."

Foster Care

Foster kids get a hand setting out on their own
Pensacola News Journal, Pensacola, FL – September 28, 2009
Alycia McKnight grew out of the foster care program at midnight on Jan. 10. Four days later, she launched into a world as an independent adult. It's a scary step for any 18-year-old but especially frightening for McKnight, who has no support from her biological parents. She began her new life with the help of several years of training from Lakeview's FamiliesFirst Network Road to Independent Living program and $650 to buy essentials to set up her first apartment. She stretched the money shopping at thrift stores.

Stimulus funds to help older foster children
Lebanon Daily News, Lebanon County, PA – September 21, 2009
Lebanon County will receive $190,000 in economic-stimulus money to help older foster children make the transition to independent living. The money will go to the county's Community Action Partnership, which provides human-services programs through the state Department of Public Welfare. Phyllis Holtry, director of CAP, said the money will be used to help 18-year-olds who are "aging out" of foster care learn to live independently and provide for themselves.

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