Tuesday, November 10, 2009

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Seven Cities Launch Collaborative Efforts to Improve College Graduation Rates
Reuters, Seattle, WA – November 5, 2009
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced $4 million in grants to the National League of Cities' Institute for Youth, Education and Families, and seven cities to boost college graduation rates by better coordinating the services that colleges, schools and communities provide to students. The grants will help cities and colleges in New York, Florida, Arizona, Ohio, and California dramatically increase the number of young people who earn a degree beyond high school.

HISD chief plans to quickly cut dropout rate
Houston Chronicle, Houston, TX – November 6, 2009
A new $1 million-plus initiative could help reduce Houston's dropout rate by at least 3 percentage points before this year's senior class graduates, Superintendent Terry Grier said Thursday. As his first major initiative as Houston ISD chief, Grier is launching a credit-recovery program similar to ones he headed up in San Diego and Greensboro, N.C. Houston ISD's new program will add so-called graduation coaches to each high school.

Summit ties high school dropout rate to economy
Patagraph, Normal, IL – November 4, 2009
Bloomington High School senior Armand Ontiveros says he has never doubted that he will graduate in spring 2010. "I feel it's not an option in my mind," said Ontiveros, who wants to follow in his mother's footsteps to be among the first members of his family to graduate from college. To encourage more students to see education that way, about 500 students (including Ontiveros), educators, community leaders, parents and business people gathered Tuesday at the Illinois Dropout Prevention Summit at Illinois State University's Bone Student Center. The event was part of a nationwide effort to increase the graduation rate of students. Keynote speaker Alma Powell, chairwoman of America's Promise Alliance, stressed that helping teens graduate from high school is vital to the nation's economic future.

Juvenile Justice

ILLINOIS SPOTLIGHT: Handling of juvenile offenders questioned
Chicago Tribune, Rock Island, IL – November 5, 2009
Rock Island County likely will spend $1 million this year sending juveniles out of the area for pre-trial detention. Those resources would be better spent on the operation of a local facility, county officials agree. But there is simply not enough money to build and operate such a facility, they say. The Juvenile Justice Institute of Illinois, or JJI, contends in a recent report, however, that millions are saved and public safety is significantly improved when communities invest in locally based community alternatives for juvenile offenders, as opposed to building more detention centers.

Juvenile justice... New drug court acts as catalyst for life changes
Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Princeton, WV – November 6, 2009
Mercer County Family Court Judges Mary Ellen Griffith and Anthony Bisaha know one key to curbing adult crime rests in teaching troubled teens to be productive citizens. They, along with fellow Family Court Judge Lisa Clark, preside over Mercer County's Juvenile Drug Court, a program designed to keep youthful offenders out of detention while still pushing them away from the illegal substances that got them into legal trouble. Juvenile Drug Court, which accepts defendants ages 10-17, is built on the idea that drug-related crimes can be prevented if teens kick their drug habits while they're still young enough to plot a different future.

Foster Care

St. Joseph’s Villa summit to focus on at-risk youths
Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond, VA – November 3, 2009
A child who needs help all the way through school doesn't suddenly become independent just because he has graduated. A successful transition to adulthood requires some help, too. At a Youth Transition Summit tomorrow at St. Joseph's Villa in Henrico County, more than 225 professionals who work with at-risk youths will come together to hear Carmen James Lane, co-chair of the Youth Transition Funders Group.

Democrats Pose Health Bill Hurdle
The Wall Street Journal, Lafayette, LA – November 6, 2009
Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu says she generally backs President Barack Obama's health-care overhaul efforts. But she'd like to see a few items in the bill before voting for it, including bigger federal Medicaid payments for her home state of Louisiana, extended health coverage for her pet cause of foster children, and help for teaching hospitals in her state. Some of her aims are more personal. Her husband, Frank Snellings, and their two children, Connor and Mary Shannon, are all adoptees, and she has made adoption and foster care a top cause. She wants to provide health coverage through age 24 for anyone who has been in foster care at least six months. "This is sort of a special issue for me," Ms. Landrieu said. Her staff said it can't calculate the provision's cost or number of people affected because some move in and out of the foster-care system and many are covered by other programs such as Medicaid.

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