Monday, February 08, 2010

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


For Students at Risk, Early College Proves a Draw
The New York Times, Raeford, NC – February 7, 2010
Precious Holt, a 12th grader with dangly earrings and a SpongeBob pillow, climbs on the yellow school bus and promptly falls asleep for the hour-plus ride to Sandhills Community College. When the bus arrives, she checks in with a guidance counselor and heads off to a day of college classes, blending with older classmates until 4 p.m., when she and the other seniors from SandHoke Early College High School gather for the ride home.

Dropout bill gets big nod
Savannah Morning News, Atlanta, GA – February 5, 2010
State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox on Thursday endorsed State Sen. Lester Jackson's proposal to raise the school dropout age.  Cox voiced support for the plan during a meeting that was part of Savannah-Chatham Day, sponsored by the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce.  Jackson's dropout age bill is part of the legislative agenda the chamber is promoting at the annual event at the capital.

"Choices" program aims to lower drop out rate
Carolina Live, Georgetown County, SC – February 3, 2010
Decisions you make as a teenager can impact the rest of your life. Nowhere is that more apparent than in South Carolina, where the school drop out rate last year was 44 percent.  That's why business leaders in Georgetown County are trying to lead kids toward making the right decisions while they're young.  Michael Himmelrick is a banker, not a teacher. But for the past two days, he's been instructing 7th graders at Waccamaw Middle School about how to make the right choices in life.  The "Choices" program is sponsored by the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce, with an eye toward helping 13-year-olds understand that the decisions they make now will impact their entire lives.

Juvenile Justice

Program gives troubled teens a chance to make a fresh start
Pocono Record, Pennsylvania – February 8, 2010
Two years ago, Brian had stolen a car and been involved with drugs.  The Reading teenager was used to seeing his parents fight constantly and go to jail. Acting out his pain through criminal acts, he seemed destined for self-destruction.  “I was terrible,” Brian said. “I didn’t want to follow the rules.”  Today, Brian, now 16, is trying to turn his life around while living with four other teens at an Albrightsville home. An aspiring nurse, he attends high school in Jim Thorpe, a town that’s cleaner, quieter and safer than where he came from. “I don’t want to be like my parents,” he said. “I believe in myself now. I want to have a purpose in life and be successful. I want a family of my own some day to take care of and be responsible for.”  That’s what Child First Services, a program working to help Brian and other troubled teens, likes to hear.  Child First Services is part of HumanWorks Affiliates, a Lehigh Valley-based organization of which Nathaniel Williams is president and CEO. Williams, who was orphaned at age 5 and grew up in the New York City foster care system, founded HumanWorks in 1993 and Child First Services in 1997.

Obama Juvenile Justice Budget Down; Earmark Disputes Loom
The Crime Report – February 4, 2010
The Obama administation’s funding proposal for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is down from last year: $290 million compared with last year’s $317 million plan, reports Youth Today. The largest difference between Obama’s last proposal and what actually got funded for 2010 was the demonstration projects account: he proposed it be nixed, and it got $91 million from Congress. Youth Today predicts that Congress will restore earmarks that Obama wanted to eliminate.

Foster Care

Vouchers assist those who age out of foster care
Delaware Online, Dover, DE – February 7, 2010
The state is extending a hand to youths who age out of the foster care system, offering housing assistance by way of 50 Family Unification Housing Vouchers available to young adults ages 18 to 21. Originally, the competitive vouchers were intended to bring families together, but the federal government has decreed that they also may be used to provide housing for those who leave foster care and need affordable housing in a safe environment. Currently, the Delaware State Housing Authority and the state Division of Family Services are seeking participants who will pay 35 percent of their income for housing with the voucher covering the balance.

Mentors key for foster kids-turned-adults
Mohave Daily News, Phoenix, AZ – February 7, 2010
Nina White entered the Arizona foster-care system at age 12.  She bounced from group homes to foster homes to detention centers for six years.  On her 18th birthday, she left the system by aging out of it.  Social workers, youth advocates and state administrators agree that youths like Nina, who go directly from foster care into adulthood, are perfectly prepared to fail miserably. But Nina, now 20, might make it.  Today, she is a student with plans to become a nurse. She has a car and a home and chance for a future.  She is on her way because one person decided to care for her.  A mentor, she said, saved her.

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