Sunday, October 11, 2009

Youth in Transition: This Week's News


Administration Launches $650M Program to Boost Education
The Washington Post, Washington, DC – October 6, 2009
The Obama administration on Tuesday announced goals for a $650 million grant competition for school systems and nonprofit organizations with ideas for narrowing achievement gaps, reducing high school dropout rates and improving teacher and principal effectiveness.

New Jersey After 3 Featured as a Vital Solution at the New Jersey High School Graduation Campaign Summit
Reuters, Brunswick, NJ – October 6, 2009
New Jersey After 3 was featured among the best practices outlined at today's New Jersey High School Graduation Campaign Summit, held at the Hyatt Hotel in New Brunswick, NJ. The statewide network of afterschool programs committed to expanding learning time for thousands of New Jersey's youth was positioned as a critical support in driving student achievement, and keeping kids safe and positively engaged in respective schools and communities. Today's summit was the culmination of a year long effort by the various public and private stakeholders in support of the national America's Promise Campaign to prevent students from dropping out of school.

Web classes help Wichita school district dissuade dropouts
The Wichita Eagle, Wichita, KS – October 5, 2009
One-third of the Wichita school district's record enrollment growth this year came from students who may never set foot in a traditional school. Of the 900 additional students in the district of about 50,000, roughly 90 came from the Internet-based eSchool and 200 from the district's four Learning Centers, which offer computer-based courses to high school dropouts. "A big part of it is students who would have left previously, we're keeping," said Robin Surland, who leads the eSchool and Learning Centers. She said the district is keeping more students because of a new dropout policy that requires counseling and better promotion of both programs.

Juvenile Justice

Alaska youths with no place to turn offered a Step Up
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Anchorage, AK – October 6, 2009
He spent years wandering in and out of class, doing time in juvenile jail, hanging with the wrong crowd and eventually getting kicked out of school for good. But he didn't get the message until the night someone shot his best friend dead at a party. That's when everything changed for 16-year-old Sean Stallard. In a moment of clarity, he enrolled in Step Up - the last chance of last chance high schools. Step Up is for teens who have run out all their options and have nowhere else to go - the students who were bad enough to be kicked out of school, either through long-term suspensions or expulsions - but who stopped just short of doing something that landed them in jail.

Justice Department Announces Grants Under Second Chance Act Prisoner Reentry Initiative
Reuters, Washington, DC – October 6, 2009
The U.S. Department of Justice today announced more than $28 million in grant funding to states, local governments and non-profit organizations under the Second Chance Act Prisoner Reentry Initiative. Funding, awarded through five separate grant programs, will be used to support reentry programs that assist individuals' transition from prison back into the community through a variety of services such as mentoring, literacy classes, job training, education programs, substance abuse, rehabilitation and mental health programs for adult and juvenile offenders.

Juvenile justice expert says judge children as children
Central NY Real-Times News, Syracuse, NY – October 6, 2009
Treating children as adults in the court system is a bad policy that is ruining youngsters’ lives and exacting a heavy economic toll on society, according to juvenile justice expert Michael A. Corriero. Corriero, who served as a state Supreme Court judge for 28 years and now runs Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City, was in Syracuse today to speak at the Salvation Army’s annual civic celebration luncheon in the Oncenter. More than 500 people attended the event. “You can’t try kids as adults because they are not,” Corriero said in an interview before the luncheon. “Locking kids up, which may appear to be expedient, is not the answer.”

Foster Care

Casey Family Programs, Consortium Announce New Resource For Implementing Fostering Connections Act
Reuters, Seattle, WA – October 7, 2009
Casey Family Programs celebrates the first anniversary of landmark child welfare legislation with the announcement of a new center that empowers local decision-makers with the knowledge they need to move children from foster care to safe and permanent homes. The Fostering Connections Resource Center has been created by a consortium of foundations to provide timely and reliable tools and information on all aspects of the federal law, the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008.

Teenager Excels Despite Family Challenges, Foster Care
WUWM, Milwaukee, WI – October 6, 2009
We often hear about the challenges of being a foster kid in Milwaukee. First, you’re taken away from your parents because things aren’t going well at home. You’re placed in a new home – perhaps several different ones – and when you turn 18, you may find yourself on your own without much support. That means college is out of reach for many teenagers aging out of foster care. But WUWM’s Erin Toner found one young woman who is going on to higher education through hard work in school and help from caring people along the way. Jessica Holden has a story that doesn’t seem like it would end with, “and off she goes to college.” This is the way her story starts, at 10 years old.

Foster youth bill can make contrasts not quite so sharp
Capitol Weekly, California – October 8, 2009
Much of what we learn in early childhood comes through contrasts. I taught my kids about opposites by reading books like "Go, Dog. Go!" with its entertaining juxtapositions of "red dog on top" and "yellow dog underneath." Some contrasts, of course, are not so fun. Think of the foster care system. Although much has been done to improve it, life in foster care remains a stark contrast to life in a stable home. There is perhaps nowhere in the entire foster child experience where the contrast is greater than the 18th birthday. For other kids, it's a celebration and new-found freedom. For the foster kid, it is the moment they "age out of the system."

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