Monday, November 16, 2009

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Summit aims at reducing Pittsburgh high school drop-out rates
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Pittsburgh, PA – November 13, 2009
City school graduates who fall short of academic requirements for Pittsburgh Promise scholarships can get a second chance, officials announced Thursday at a summit focused on reversing drop-out rates. Starting with the Class of 2010, graduates of Pittsburgh Public Schools with a grade point average between 2.0 and 2.49 can enroll for free in three courses at Community College of Allegheny County, said Saleem Ghubril, executive director of The Pittsburgh Promise, which provides $5,000 annual scholarships to city school graduates with a 2.5 grade average and higher.

Stay in school, Saginaw County ninth-graders agree at countywide summit, Saginaw, MI – November 13, 2009
About 1,400 Saginaw County high school freshmen gathered this morning at Saginaw Valley State University's Ryder Center to embrace the "stay in school" message. The Saginaw County Dropout Awareness & Prevention Summit was sponsored by the Saginaw Community Foundation. Speakers included a panel of high school dropouts who have resumed their educations, Saginaw County District Judge M.T. Thompson Jr. and motivator Brian Pruitt, who told the teens that graduating from high school is essential to their success.

Sparking Confidence: Local Youth Apprenticeship Program Fights High Dropout Rates
The San Francisco Appeal, San Francisco, CA – November 12, 2009
High school dropout rates for America's kids are fodder for depressing thoughts. Nationwide, a full third of students do not graduate high school with a diploma, and 50% of African American and Latino students don't finish high school on time, according to dropout prevention group America's Promise Alliance. In California, "It seems 25% is the general consensus," says Chris Balme, executive director of the Bay Area's Spark, a youth apprenticeship program aiming to curb the dropout problem by teaching kids the relevance of school. "It's much higher than that in the communities that we serve." The spark for Spark came from seeing that ample learning opportunities for his students could be found in Philadelphia's business community. "There were businesses in the community, and none of those places were being used to engage students. Sometimes these are the best paces to learn." How so? "Show students what school is for by providing a hands on example," Balme explains.

Juvenile Justice

Justices debate life sentences for juveniles
CNN, Washington, DC – November 9, 2009
The Supreme Court wrestled in often emotional terms Monday over whether sentencing juvenile criminals to life in prison without parole is "cruel and unusual" punishment, especially when their crime is not murder. The justices appeared divided over how to treat two separate appeals, one involving a 13-year-old rapist and the other a 17-year-old violent home-invasion robber. "You can imagine someone who is a month short of his 18th birthday, and you are saying that, no matter what this person does -- commits the most horrible series of non-homicide offenses that you can imagine, a whole series of brutal rapes, assaults -- that person must at some point be made eligible for parole. That's your argument?" a skeptical Justice Samuel Alito asked a lawyer for one of the prisoners.

Morgan leading by example
Hartselle Enquirer, Alabama – November 11, 2009
Alabama is shifting to a more progressive, research-based approach to try and stem the flow of juvenile offenders maturing into members of the state’s adult prison population. And if Morgan County is any example, the shift is producing results. As part of the Juvenile Justice Reform Act passed by the Alabama legislature last year, counties are taking a systemic look at a child’s background, challenges and offenses and prescribing appropriate treatment.

OJJDP Administrators Gather for First Time
Youth Today, Washington, DC – November 12, 2009
Earmarks, independence and interagency politics were among the subjects discussed this week at an unprecedented gathering of former federal leaders on juvenile justice. Six of the eight former administrators of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention led OJJDP@35, a panel discussion hosted by Youth Today newspaper, speaking to an audience of advocates, foundation leaders, political staff and executives of programs that serve juvenile offenders.

Foster Care

Race factor explored in forum on foster care
The Buffalo News City & Region, Buffalo, NY – November 10, 2009
African-Americans and Hispanics account for nearly 25 percent of the children in Erie County, yet they make up more than 55 percent of those in foster care. Why are minority children so overrepresented in the country’s child welfare system, and what can be done about it? The solutions are not clear or simple, but a conference Monday in Buffalo offered strong evidence that judges, prosecutors, attorneys, caseworkers and social services officials are frustrated with a system that seems to encourage the disparities.

Governor Crist Applauds Successes of Florida’s Explore Adoption Initiative
WCTV, Tampa, FL – November 6, 2009
Governor Charlie Crist today applauded Florida’s successes in transforming state foster care while addressing child advocates, legislators and state child welfare system leaders from 18 states in Tampa. Florida was chosen as the host state for the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices policy institute, Changing the Outcome: Achieving and Sustaining a Safe Reduction in Foster Care, because of its success in safely reducing the number of children in foster care, including the Governor’s statewide Explore Adoption initiative. “In Florida, we have revolutionized our approach to foster care, and our efforts are helping more families stay together and dramatically increasing the adoption of foster children into loving families,” said Governor Crist. “Fewer children in foster care means fewer children with childhood memories filled with an ever-shifting series of foster homes and schools.”

No comments: