Monday, May 10, 2010

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Virtual schools soon reality in Mass.
Boston Globe, Boston, MA – May 5, 2010
The schools would have no desks or lockers, not even a cafeteria to trade gossip over a plate of chicken nuggets. Instead, students could take classes from the comfort of their homes or a neighborhood coffeehouse, as teachers convey lessons via the Internet. This is a snapshot of virtual public schools in Massachusetts, which could open as soon as this fall, enabling hundreds of students to take all their classes online.

SECOND CHANCE: A scholarship program is helping Des Moines Public School dropouts get their high school diplomas and college credit
13 WHO TV, Des Moines, IA – May 5, 2010
High school dropouts could have a second chance at completing high school and going to college. Fifty scholarships are being handed out to former Des Moines Public School students.  The Gateway to College program allows students to earn a high school diploma while simultaneously earning college credit at DMACC.

New school at mall targets dropout risks
The Boston Globe, Peabody, MA – May 9, 2010
For a group of Peabody teenagers, the local mall may become more than a place to socialize, starting next school year.  The city recently reached an agreement with the Simon Youth Foundation to open an alternative school in space within Northshore Mall.  Targeted to open in September, the school will serve Peabody Veterans Memorial High School students at risk of dropping out due to circumstances — such as poverty, domestic abuse, pregnancy, or chronic health problems — that have caused them to fall behind academically.

Juvenile Justice

Rep. Miller Takes Questions on Juvenile Justice Reauthorization
Youth Today, Washington, DC – May 6, 2010
Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) spoke today about reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) in an interview on Juvenile Justice Matters, the radio show of a  D.C.-based advocacy group The Campaign for Youth Justice.  Miller is the chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, which is the committee that handles juvenile justice for the House. In the Senate the issue is largely the purview of the Judiciary Committee, which has already passed its version of JJDPA reauthorization and is looking to get it to the floor for a full Senate vote this summer.

Program to teach Steamboat teens about court
Steamboat Today, Steamboat Springs, CO – May 7, 2010
Grand Futures Prevention Coalition hopes to teach Routt County teens about the juvenile justice system the easy way — without them going through it first.  To educate teens, their parents and community members about the juvenile justice diversion program, laws and to answer questions, Grand Futures is teaming up with local law enforcement agencies and court representatives for a symposium from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Olympian Hall.

Non-profit works to mentor youth offenders
Midlands Connect, Columbia, SC – May 4, 2010
It was an evening of hope.  Tuesday at the Department of Juvenile Justice a non-profit organization called Friends of Juvenile Justice celebrated their achievements with at risk children.  The group is trying to increase its efforts by launching a state-wide mentoring campaign for DJJ children.

Foster Care

Former foster kid overcame odds, with help from many friends, to earn law degree
The Washington Post, Washington, DC – May 7, 2010
When Jelani Freeman came home after school one day, his mother was gone. Eight years old, he waited, realizing as the hours passed that she would not be back. She was mentally ill and in need of treatment. His father was in prison. "I just knew that was it," he recalled.  By the next afternoon, social workers were involved. So began a way of life that he came to know as foster care, a world of in-betweens and stopgaps that brought six moves and inevitable questions about how to get beyond hurt and want and poverty.  On Saturday, against the odds, Freeman will graduate from Howard University Law School, where he has told few of his professors how far he came just to take a seat.

Project helps teen take step into adulthood
Des Moines Register, Des Moines, IA – May 6, 2010
Furnishings in Kamylle Patterson's East Douglas Avenue apartment had been sparse since she and her husband moved in December.  "When we very first moved in, we didn't have a table, didn't have a couch and didn't have a TV," the 18-year-old senior at East High School said. "We would sit on boxes and eat."  That all changed Saturday with the arrival of a moving van packed with bags and boxes filled with everything the couple could need. The supplies, accompanied by a small army of volunteers, were courtesy of Children & Families of Iowa's Elevate Our Youth to Adulthood project.

Woman proves college is possible for foster kids
Free Press, Oakland County, MI – May 8, 2010
More former foster children in the state are attending college or trade school, overcoming enormous obstacles such as homelessness and poverty -- thanks, in part, to an aggressive push by universities, social service agencies and community leaders. State records show that the number of foster youths attending college or trade school jumped from 127 in 2004 to 616 in 2009. That number is expected to climb even though the number of youths 18 and older still receiving foster care is declining.

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