Monday, May 24, 2010

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Program has big success preventing school dropouts
Carolina Live, Timmonsville, SC - May 22, 2010
Educators in Timmonsville are praising a dropout prevention program for at-risk high school students.  The statewide program started five years ago under the leadership of Governor Mark Sanford and the state Workforce Investment Board.  Friday, we caught up with the students from Timmonsville High School picking up trash along the highway.  It's part of their community service project with Jobs for America's Graduates better known as JAG, a statewide dropout prevention program.

Choice Bus Aimed at Reducing Dropout Rates
WSPA Channel 7, Columbia, SC – May 18, 2010
A customized bus aimed at reducing high school dropout rates is touring South Carolina this week.  The Choice Bus was on display Wednesday at the Statehouse in Columbia.  The bus is half-school bus and half-prison cell and is designed to show young people the power of education. The front half of the bus is painted like a school bus with rows of seats and the back half looks like prison bus with a small prison cell inside that includes a bed, toilet and sink.

Garland's Non-Traditional High School gives at-risk students support they need to graduate
The Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX – May 18, 2010
A student was having a meltdown. The night before, a family member had come home high on "cheese" heroin and beaten the mother. It wasn't the first time.  "But you made the right choice. You came to school. You came to us. You did the right thing," Principal Connie Skipper said as she comforted the student. The student settled down, more determined than ever to graduate. Such support, along with an absolute focus on academics, has earned the school for at-risk students a high graduation rate and state awards.

Juvenile Justice

For D.C., hope in treating young offenders
USA Today, Laurel, MD – May 18, 2010
In the lobby of the New Beginnings Youth Development Center stood the figure of a man sculpted from steel, his body fashioned from the barrels and bullet chambers of illegal guns seized by police. Modern-day swords, the guns were beaten into plowshares by the same young men who used them to commit crimes.  Washington, D.C., a city with a long, sad history of failing its youth, has achieved a rare victory in dealing with troubled kids. On a swath of federal land in suburban Maryland, the District of Columbia has transformed its juvenile lockup. What was once a filthy prison for boys is now a new, campus-like setting where the city's worst young offenders work their way through a heavily structured program of individualized education, group therapy, behavior modification and unusual programs such as "Guns to Roses," the art project that turned 28 illegal weapons, melted down by police, into sculptures.

States Soften 'Adult Time For Adult Crimes' Stance
NPR – May 19, 2010
For more than 20 years, state legislatures have come down increasingly hard on criminal minors, insisting that they do "adult time for adult crimes." But some states are starting to rethink that approach. Texas, for example, enacted a law last year prohibiting juveniles who have not committed murder from being sentenced to life without any chance of parole — well before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled such sentences unconstitutional on Monday. "In many cases, we believe in second chances for kids," says Jerry Madden, a Texas state representative. "There's still a chance to work with juveniles."

U.S. Supreme Court decision on juvenile sentences could affect Louisiana cases
The Times-Picayune, Louisiana – May 17, 2010
The U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision Monday ending life-without-parole sentences for juveniles convicted of crimes other than homicide could affect dozens of Louisiana cases, according to the state's sole agency that advocates for juvenile offenders.  "It's a powerful statement from the court that children are inherently less culpable and able to be rehabilitated," said Dana Kaplan, director of the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana. "The court decision is a powerful first step."

Foster Care

Program Helps Minnesota Foster Kids After Age 18
Fox 9 News, Minneapolis, MN – May 19, 2010
Up to 600 Minnesota kids age out of foster care after they graduate high school and some can go down the wrong path, but several programs are trying to help kids after age 18.  The Minnesota Department of Human Services wants to get the word out there are resources and financial aid available for kids who want help. Glenda Harris, 22, feels fortunate to be able to take advantage of just one of programs called Education and Training Vouchers. She is a student at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, currently studying to be a nurse, but soon she’ll transfer to get a degree in social work to help other foster kids.

'Cakes' Program Aids Transition from Foster Care to Job
News 8, Frederick, MD – May 18, 2010
When children grow too old for the foster care system, they're sometimes tempted by crime, drugs and alcohol. But a new program in at a Frederick bakery is aimed at changing that one kid and one cake at a time.  After four months of measuring life as a baker, 19-year-old Christina Quinn has had her fill.  "This is part of me but I don't want it to be the only thing of me," said Christina Quinn, an apprentice at Moxie Bakery. Quinn's in a six-month program at Moxie Bakery called "Cakes for Cause." The program is for teens who spent time in foster care, "aged-out" of the system without being adopted, or are considered "at-risk."

Agency helps foster ‘kids’ transition to adulthood
Kilgore News Herald, East Texas – May 19, 2010
When a child is removed from his home and placed in a foster home, a larger problem looms in the distance in East Texas and around the country.  As the child “ages out” of the foster system, making the transition to adulthood can be hard to master.  That’s where Julie Shrode comes in.  The PAL program – Preparation for Adult Living - was started in 1986 to help older youth in foster care prepare for independent adult status, and Shrode is the PAL coordinator for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services in the 23 counties of the state’s Region IV area, which includes East Texas.  Finding a place for foster children to make a safe transition to adulthood is something her agency grapples with.

No comments: