Monday, November 30, 2009

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Guard Offers Youths Second Chance
Times Record Online, Arkansas – November 27, 2009
Youths enrolled in the Arkansas National Guard Youth Challenge program receive measured doses of structure and freedom — the goal is teaching at-risk youths who want to change their lives how to do it. “We are a very structured behavior modification program,” program admissions coordinator Hugh Leavell said. Many students accepted into the free 22-week residential program are high school dropouts, but there are restrictions on who can enroll, Leavell said. It is a voluntary program. Youths cannot be court-ordered into it, their parents cannot make them go, and by federal law, participants cannot have a felony conviction. They must demonstrate that they want to see a change in their lives, he said.

San Francisco's school of last resort
San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco, CA – November 29, 2009
With a convicted bank robber and a former methamphetamine user in charge, John Muir Charter School on Treasure Island is not your typical public school. ut the typical public school experience didn't work for the 105 students at John Muir. Among them are former robbers and thieves. Some are teenage parents. All were academic failures elsewhere and, at one point or another, on the state's long list of high school dropouts. Each one wants another chance.

Juvenile Justice

Youngsters get second chance to do the right thing
Tri-Parish Times, Houma, LA – November 29, 2009
Bayou Lafourche Marine Institute in Raceland has been a well-kept secret in the Lafourche and Terrebonne parish area for far too long, says Executive Director Lolita Gray. The non-profit organization is the place where juvenile justice judges opt to send troubled youth instead of having them serve time in a detention center. According to Gray, the Raceland site is a chapter of the AMIkids foundation, which was formed when Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Juvenile Court Judge Frank Orlando decided to decrease the cycle of juvenile offenders in his courtroom.

Breaking the cycle of youth crime
Houston Chronicle, Texas – November 28, 2009
In her nearly three years of handling juvenile cases, Montgomery County Judge Mary Ann Turner has seen a growing number of young people in trouble with the law because of behavior related to a mental health disorder. Their crimes range from truancy and theft to more serious acts such as family violence and assault. The juveniles are placed in detention, but when they get out their problems often persist. “I have detention docket three days a week,” said Turner, who presides over Court-at-law No. 4. “I can look out there, and I know half these kids. If you don't address the underlying cause of the behavior with kids at this age, you can release them, and they'll be back.” To break that cycle, the county has launched a pilot program to get juveniles with mental health needs out of the criminal system and into an intensive program at home.

New Program to Make Probation More Efficient
ABC23, Bakersfield, CA – November 24, 2009
Doing more with less, that's the new mantra of county government as the Board of Supervisors is expecting less and less money the next year or two. So, the board is looking for programs that streamline resources, which is something the probation department began to implement last year. The program is called PACT, or Positive Achievement Change Tool, it's a way to assess juvenile offenders risk of recidivism and what they need to help change their behavior.

Foster Care

Big Family supports needy
Daily Tribune, Oakland, CA – November 27, 2009
Children's advocate overcomes personal tragedies, gives children a happy Christmas. At age 18, Jeanne Fowler walked out the door of the foster care home she'd lived in for nine years and never looked back. Somehow she put the abuse and neglect of a lifetime behind her, became a nurses' aide, wife, loving mother and grandmother. In 1999, she started Big Family of Michigan, which last year provided 6,700 low-income children Christmas gifts and matched 1,500 foster care children throughout the state with Christmas "wish" sponsors.

Age no barrier for one teen who finds permanent home
Democrat and Chronicle, Monroe County, NY – November 27, 2009
In a room at Monroe County Family Court where squirming kids wait to be adopted, Turiq Floyd's muscular physique and serious expression stand out like the exception that he is. At 6-foot-1 and 225 pounds, the Greece Athena High School football player towers over his social worker, his soon-to-be mom and even the judge who would approve his fate. Yet at an age when kids typically pull back from their folks, the 17-year-old who had been neglected by his biological family and baptized by the mean streets is heading in another direction. He was adopted last week by his foster mother, Pauline Wilson, whom he long ago started calling Grandma. Ask the bashful guy, who turns 18 in May, why he wanted to be adopted and Turiq pauses. "I need a foundation," he says. "Everybody got to start somewhere."

Family programs highlight issues involved with foster care

The Township Journal, Newton, NJ – November 25, 2009

The Family Success Center at Project Self-Sufficiency has partnered with the Raise Me Up campaign to increase awareness of the benefits of becoming involved with the care of a foster child. The Raise Me Up campaign is an initiative of the Casey Family Programs, the largest national foundation whose sole mission is to advocate for children in foster care. The campaign’s message is simple, “You don’t have to raise a foster child to raise them up. You just have to raise your hand and say you’ll help.”


Blacks hit hard by economy's punch

The Washington Post, Washington, DC – November 24, 2009

These days, 24-year-old Delonta Spriggs spends much of his time cooped up in his mother's one-bedroom apartment in Southwest Washington, the TV blaring soap operas hour after hour, trying to stay out of the streets and out of trouble, held captive by the economy. As a young black man, Spriggs belongs to a group that has been hit much harder than any other by unemployment. Joblessness for 16-to-24-year-old black men has reached Great Depression proportions -- 34.5 percent in October, more than three times the rate for the general U.S. population.

Green jobs training programs receive $55 million
Mother Nature Network - November 24, 2009
Green jobs training programs from across the country have something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving – $55 million in grant funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The funds will go to programs to train individuals in underserved communities for the green jobs of today and the future. The Green Jobs Capacity Building Grants totaled $5.8 million and will allow participants in the Labor Department green training programs to expand their client base. These grants are targeted specifically at Native American communities, women, at-risk youth, and farm workers.

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