Monday, July 19, 2010

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Gates Foundation playing pivotal role in changes for education system
The Washington Post, Tampa, FL – July 12, 2010
Across the country, public education is in the midst of a quiet revolution. States are embracing voluntary national standards for English and math, while schools are paying teachers based on student performance. It's an agenda propelled in part by a flood of money from a billionaire prep-school graduate best known for his software empire: Bill Gates.

Educational forum for Hispanic youth stresses opportunities
Richmond Times-Dispatch, Ettrick, VA – July 15, 2010
J.A. Rodríguez Jr. grew up as a member of a low-income minority family in the Bronx. Today, he is a senior manager with a Fortune 100 company and serves as a role model to Hispanic youths who may face similar obstacles. "If I can do it, you can do it, too. You just have to want it . . . and you have to be able to pay the price," he said. "You have to believe in yourself and you can get it done." Rodríguez is one of the "Hispanic Heroes" at the 2010 Hispanic Youth Symposium hosted by Virginia State University. He manages international programs for Raytheon Co., and his travels abroad have led him to Germany and the South Pole. The four-day symposium, which began yesterday, is one of eight throughout the country sponsored by the Hispanic College Fund. It's aimed at increasing awareness about higher education opportunities and addressing the high school dropout rate within the Hispanic community.

Students take drop out issues into their own hands
Rapid City Journal, Rapid City, SD – July 15, 2010
Her baby is due about the time of midterms. Camille Williams, a 17-year-old Jefferson Academy student with thick brown hair and a soft voice, touches the small swell of her belly as she talks about the upcoming school year. Williams started out at Central High School, but soon found she was on a slippery slope to dropping out. "My mom would drop me off, and I would wait and then leave," she said. She fell behind in classes, transferred to Jefferson and "started taking as many classes as I can" to catch up. Then she found out she was pregnant. "I keep coming up to a lot of brick walls," she said. But this baby, a girl she will raise with the father, is not going to deter her from graduating high school. "I'm going to do my best to make bottles and read books at the same time," she said. Part of her resolve can be attributed to a new group of friends, a summer class and the unwavering support of a former teacher. Williams is part of a new Rapid City Area Schools summer class, sponsored by the Indian Education Department and Partnership Rapid City, devoted to studying drop-out issues and coming up with solutions.

Juvenile Justice

Federal Oversight for Troubled N.Y. Youth Prisons
The New York Times, New York, NY – July 14, 2010
Four of New York’s most dangerous and troubled youth prisons will be placed under federal oversight, strict new limits will be imposed on the use of physical force by guards, and dozens of psychiatrists, counselors and investigators will be hired under a sweeping agreement finalized on Wednesday between state and federal officials. The agreement will usher in the most significant expansion of mental health services in years for youths in custody, the vast majority of whom suffer from drug or alcohol problems, developmental disabilities or mental health problems.

Juvenile Justice Advocates Suggest Cost-Effective Strategies For States
The Crime Report – July 14, 2010
With many states facing alarming budget shortfalls, a coalition of juvenile justice advocates has issued a report recommending what it says are cost-effective strategies to improve and shrink juvenile justice systems. The National Juvenile Justice Network has published “The Real Costs and Benefits of Change: Finding Opportunities for Reform During Difficult Fiscal Times,” which explores reforms that states have successfully utilized to improve outcomes for youth, increase public safety, and reduce costs.

Foster Care

DHS says housing, other assistance available for foster kids until age 21
Philadelphia Daily News, Philadelphia, PA – July 13, 2010
The Department of Human Services said there are services available for high-school students like Jason Rodriguez who have "aged out" of traditional foster-care services. When one of the counselors at Rodriguez's high school first contacted DHS, she was told that he was no longer eligible for foster-care services that now are available for youth until age 21 as long as they remain in school, said DonYvonne Owens, a retired counselor at the Bodine High School for International Affairs who now works as a part-time substitute. But Dell Meriwether, DHS deputy commissioner for children and youth, said even after a former foster child turns 18, he or she wouldn't be excluded from other DHS services, such as transitional living programs available through the Office of Supportive Housing.

Children's shelter adds transitional living space for foster kids
American-Statesman, Austin, TX – July 13, 2010
Under state law, when foster children turn 18, they have to strike out on their own hopefully to find jobs or enroll in college or job-training programs. But the reality, according to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, is that up to 50 percent of youths who "age out" of foster care become homeless within 18 months of leaving the system. A new transitional living center that opened last month at the Austin Children's Shelter is intended to combat that statistic. The Therapeutic Living Center for Boys will serve 16- to 21-year-olds, who tend to struggle the most when leaving foster care, state officials said. The center is designed to house up to 14 foster children and will teach them life skills such as applying for jobs, opening a bank account, paying bills and finding an apartment.

Program to help foster kids ease into adulthood
The Chicago Tribune, Indianapolis, IN – July 16, 2010
Indiana is getting $75,000 for a new national program designed to help young people bridge the gap between foster care and adulthood. The program, called Fostering Futures, was developed by the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association with help from the Walmart Foundation. Based on a study at the University of Michigan, Fostering Futures helps young people build a positive self-image and set goals.

No comments: