Monday, August 30, 2010

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Market Watch, Downers Grove, IL – August 25, 2010
Lisa Pickrum, chief operating officer and executive vice president of the RLJ Companies announced a campaign to address the high school dropout crisis in America. Pickrum will be running both the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and the Marine Corps Marathon in October to raise funds for the America's Promise Alliance's Grad Nation campaign.  Pickrum will hit the road in October and run 52.4 miles, with the goal of raising more than $100,000. One hundred percent of the funds will benefit the America's Promise Alliance and DeVry Inc. partnership initiative to expand Advantage Academies across the country.

Arlington recruits volunteers to combat high school dropout rates
Star-Telegram, Arlington, TX – August 28, 2010
While most Arlington teenagers reported for the first day of school last week to greet new teachers and reconnect with classmates, a few remained in bed when the first bell rang.  Whether they had to go to work or look for a stable place to live or were just frustrated with being behind on academic credits, over 100 Arlington high school students had no intention of showing up.  "These are kids we can't lose," said Wendy Carrington, dropout prevention director for the Arlington school district. "If we don't help, these students are going to get further and further behind."  Carrington's office is responsible for improving the district's high school completion rate of about 88 percent. To that end, the district is kicking off Operation Graduation Walk, in which volunteers and district officials will go out into neighborhoods looking for dropouts.

The Sun, San Bernardino County, CA – August 28, 2010
Cops and district attorneys enforce the law. It's their job and it's what they're good at. But the most enlightened of them know that it's easier - and cheaper - to keep people out of trouble than to deal with them once they're in it.  That's why Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, California - an organization made up of hundreds of police chiefs, sheriffs, district attorneys and violence survivors - supports Senate Bill 1357 by Sens. Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and Elaine Alquist, D-San Jose. Their legislation, approved Thursday and sent to the governor, would help California schools identify students most at risk of dropping out at school while there's still time to steer them right.

Juvenile Justice

Citizens Voice, Wilkes-Barre, PA – August 25, 2010
In the heart of a courthouse tarnished by a far-reaching kids-for-cash scandal, Luzerne County's chief public defender on Tuesday touted a planned juvenile unit that officials believe will serve as a model for all of Pennsylvania.  In a joint news conference with County Commissioner Chairwoman Maryanne Petrilla,  Chief Public Defender Al Flora Jr. outlined his plans to assign three full-time lawyers solely to work juvenile court cases and to bolster the team with a licensed social worker, investigator and secretary.  Flora emphasized the increased staffing would allow his burdened office to meet national caseload standards and labeled the placement of juveniles in detention facilities a "last resort and not the first resort."

News West 9, Santa Fe, NM – August 30, 2010
Juvenile justice programs across New Mexico are getting $250,000 in federal economic stimulus money to help them cope with a budget squeeze.  Gov. Bill Richardson is allocating the money to help programs in 18 counties. Money will go to support substance abuse programs as well as teen courts and other juvenile justice rehabilitation services.

Foster Folly News, Washington County, FL – August 30, 2010
A group of young people received an up close and personal look at the judicial system Aug. 26 when they participated in the first session of the Washington County Teen Court program for 2010-11.  Two of the teens served as the proscecutor and defense attorneys, while others served as members of the jury.  The Teen Court session was overseen by Megan Ford, Assistant State Attorney.  The first Teen Court session of the new school year saw one male and one female brought before the court to received their sanctions. One defendant was before the Court for criminal mischief and the second for petty theft.

Foster Care

Knox News, Tennessee – August 25, 2010
Connected Tennessee’s Computers 4 Kids program will receive 2.3 million dollars in federal funding in an effort to increase sustainable broadband adoption and provide computers and training to over 60,000 disadvantaged youth across the state.  Computers 4 Kids joined 93 other Recovery Act investments in broadband projects that will create jobs and expand economic opportunities within 37 states. These investments in high-speed Internet infrastructure will help bridge the technological divide and support improvements in education, healthcare, and public safety.  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act matching grant is awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. The Computers 4 Kids “Preparing Tennessee’s Next Generation for Success” project intends to focus on economically vulnerable youth in Tennessee by deploying laptops, academic support programs, and workforce training to two different, but especially at-risk populations: those “aging out” of the state’s foster care system when they turn 18 and youth who are active in the state’s 76 Boys & Girls Clubs.
The Florida Times-Union, Florida – August 25, 2010
One sure thing in Hannah Wilder's unsure life was that she wanted to be a nurse when she grew up.  After an abusive childhood, she spent her teen years bouncing around foster homes, running away, dropping out of school and thinking she was bigger than she really was.  Wilder, 22, of Hilliard is bigger now and no longer lives in a foster home. She's married with kids, and the foster care system that helped her as a teen is helping her achieve her dream of becoming a nurse.  Wilder started her first day of studies Monday to earn certification as a nursing assistant as part of a pilot program by the foster care agency Family Support Services of North Florida, in partnership with the Northeast Florida State Hospital in Macclenny.

Chillicothe Gazette, Ohio – August 29, 2010
Dominique Smith has limited time to help. She works with youth in the foster care system on gaining independent living skills through a Children's Services program. However, when they turn 21, she has to cut them loose -- if they even hung on for that additional three years of help.  Last week, one of Smith's former youths stopped her at a store and asked for help. She's without a job, struggling to get on her feet and turns 21 in Spetember.  Usually, she'd only have a month to get help and nowhere to turn, but a pilot program, Ohio Youth in Transition, just started with plans to service at-risk adults ages 18 to 29.

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