Monday, June 14, 2010

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


The Philadelphia Inquirer – June 9, 2010
Education pays, especially in tough times like these.  The unemployment rate last month for people without high school diplomas was 15 percent, more than three times higher than the 4.7 percent rate for those with at least a bachelor's degree.  For high school graduates, the rate was 10.9 percent, and for those with some college or an associate degree, the rate was 8.3 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

Breaking the Cycle of Latino High School Drop Outs: KidWorks Making Strides in Challenged Neighborhoods, Santa Ana, CA – June 9, 2010
KidWorks is hosting the graduation event “Day of the Stars” on June 19th from 10am-12pm at 1910 W. Chestnut Avenue in Santa Ana. City of Santa Ana Councilmember, David Benavides, will be giving a commencement address to the KidWorks high school graduates. KidWorks will also have a ceremony for the 48 preschool students who are promoting to Kindergarten.  KidWorks has been bringing hope to families living in challenged neighborhoods of central Santa Ana since 1994. While in some ways this community has changed in the last 15 years with some housing redevelopment and improved police relations, there continues to be high levels of gang activity and low educational attainment. According to the United States Census, in the KidWorks neighborhoods only 35% of adults have graduated from high school. This community is one of the poorest in Orange County where over 95% of the children qualify for the free lunch program at school and 45% of the families at KidWorks live below the Federal Poverty Line. Among KidWorks families, the average household income is $30,000 and the average household size is 5.

Virtual school seniors beat the odds to graduate
Dayton Daily News, Lebanon, OH – June 10, 2010
Friends, family and area educators gathered Wednesday afternoon, June 2, to see dozens of at-risk high school students receive their diplomas.  More than 30 students, out of 51 who completed the coursework, attended the first graduation ceremony of the Warren County Virtual School, held at the Lebanon High School commons area.  The graduates were recognized as “at-risk” students by the Ohio Department of Education and the virtual school enabled them to do 100 percent of their coursework over the Internet, said Tom Isaacs, virtual school board president.

High school dropouts impact Utah's economy
Deseret News, Salt Lake City, UT – June 10, 2010
A sure-fire way to spur economic growth in Salt Lake City is getting kids in caps and gowns.  "Truly, the best economic stimulus package for Salt Lake City and the nation is a diploma," Bob Wise, president of Alliance for Excellent Education, a national policy and advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C., told the Deseret News.  Wise, former governor of West Virginia, and his colleagues released the findings of a study Tuesday that illustrate how communities are negatively affected economically when students drop out of high school. Wise estimates that there were 3,500 dropouts from the Class of 2008 in Salt Lake, Summit and Tooele counties.

Juvenile Justice

Project aims to get treatment for juveniles in justice system
Winston-Salem Journal, Forsyth County, NC – June 10, 2010
More than 2 million people under 18 are arrested each year in the United States, and four out of five of them are under the influence of drugs or alcohol when they are arrested.  But many of them don't get the treatment they need for their addictions, according to Reclaiming Futures. The initiative hopes to change that.  "They aren't bad kids," said Chief District Judge William Reingold said yesterday during a kickoff for the initiative at the Forsyth County Hall of Justice. "But if we have any hope that they will learn from their mistakes, punishment can't be the only answer."

WGIL News, Illinois – June 12, 2010
The Juvenile Justice Initiative is happy with its accomplishments during the spring legislative session, and hopes the governor will sign a group of measures that it supports.  The group's policy advocate, Mary Reynolds, says one measure will let an existing group -- the Juvenile Justice Coalition -- rather than a new task force study whether 17-year olds who are charged with felonies can be tried as juveniles in Illinois. A change last year put 17-year olds back in the juvenile court system if they are charged with misdemeanors.

Foster Care 

Salute to grads who defied the odds
San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco, CA – June 6, 2010
If one knew nothing about the backgrounds of the young men and women gathered in the student union at City College, the end-of-semester scene could be mistaken as being merely poignant instead of extraordinary. More than 60 students filled their paper plates with food as they awaited the announcement of scholarship winners. They beamed when their names were called for having earned a scholarship or admission to a four-year university. They applauded each other's successes. They posed for photographs. Young mothers clutched their children's hands.

Fostering Success
Success Magazine – June 7, 2010
Nathaniel Williams has penned seven books about letting go of the past and other topics, but he’s never written about the tragic, foundation-shaking event from his childhood that made him an expert in the subject.  Williams, founder and CEO of Pennsylvania-based social services group HumanWorks Affiliates, was thrust with his 11 orphaned siblings into the New York City foster care system when he was 5 years old. Today, as a successful entrepreneur, CEO and motivational speaker, he helps children and adults with similar circumstances break free of their difficult pasts, to find success in all aspects of their lives.

‘You never stand so tall as when you stoop to help a child’
Financial News & Daily Record, Jacksonville, FL – June 7, 2010
Child advocacy is one of the most rewarding areas of practice.  The Florida Guardian ad Litem Program consists of just over 300 dedicated volunteers who act as the voice of abused, abandoned and neglected children in the dependency court system. The two primary ways that attorneys may volunteer are as a pro bono attorney, or as an attorney ad litem.  Pro Bono attorneys act as a point of contact for children aging out of the foster care system or represent them in specialty areas such as probate, special education, medical malpractice and immigration. The attorney ad litem serves the child in a normal attorney-client relationship and is responsible for representing the child’s wishes.

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