Monday, September 06, 2010

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Task force cites high dropout rates for African American, Latino students
The Philadelphia Inquirer, Pennsylvania – September 3, 2010
Calling the high school dropout rate for city students one of the most serious problems facing Philadelphia, Mayor Nutter said Thursday his administration would work with the School District to address it.  "There is nothing less at stake here than the future of this city," Nutter told an audience at the district's administration building following release of a blueprint for stemming the dropout rates for African American and Latino males.  After studying the dropout problems of African American and Latino males in Philadelphia for 10 months, a task force called for the district to reexamine its zero-tolerance policy toward violence, consider offering single-sex classes, add music and arts programs to help engage students' interest, and raise academic standards.

Tri City Herald, Washington – August 31, 2010
It's a sure bet kids who drop out of high school eventually regret that decision.  But then what?  The idea of going back to school is daunting. Many think if they try, they'll just fail again.  Others don't know how to go about re-enrolling.  Tri-City kids in this situation are fortunate this year because a free new program is starting that can help them get back on track.  It's the only one like it in the state and will be run through the Boys and Girls Club of Benton and Franklin Counties.

Independent Mail, Anderson County, SC – August 28, 2010
Half a dozen volunteers hunted Saturday in an Anderson neighborhood near McCants Middle School for a teen who has not yet been to high school this academic year.  Neighbors said the teen’s family had recently moved out of state.  The scene was repeated in several other neighborhoods Saturday morning as part of the Anderson School District 5 Graduate Anderson program.  This year is the second one of operations for the program, which organizes school employees and community volunteers to go to the homes of potential high school dropouts in an effort to get those young people back in school or into alternative education programs.

Juvenile Justice

Times Union, New York – September 3, 2010
It is now established beyond doubt that New York's juvenile justice system is in desperate need of reform. As New York City Commissioners John Mattingly and Vincent Schiraldi put it so eloquently and convincingly in their Aug. 24 commentary, "Wrong way to punish youths," our system of incarcerating juveniles is a failure on many levels. It is both enormously expensive and largely ineffective in terms of deterring future criminal behavior. In recent months, a great deal of attention and energy have been focused on addressing the subject of juvenile detention. Task forces have been convened. Special investigations have been launched. And slowly but surely, New York's youth prisons are being improved or closed.

KFVS Heartland News, Jackson, MO – August 31, 2010
With her son Jonathon's name hanging on the wall over her shoulder, Tracy McClard works out of the office she created in his old bedroom.  Two and a half years after the 17-year-old took his own life behind bars, McClard's creating a new statewide campaign to keep teens out of adult prisons.  She shows me the group logo, FORJ.  "What you see is Families and Friends Organizing for Reform of Juvenile Justice. But personally, for me, it's for Jon," McClard explained.

Argus Leader, Minnehaha County, SD – September 2, 2010
Minnehaha County soon will hire a juvenile justice coordinator to find ways to reduce the number of youths detained in the county.  The job is set to last for a year, but Minnehaha County commissioners could seek a permanent funding source if the coordinator can find alternatives to detention that save money for the county.  Statistics from the Annie E. Casey Foundation show that South Dakota detains juveniles at a higher rate than any other state in the U.S.

Foster Care

Associated Press, New York, NY – September 1, 2010
The number of U.S. children in foster care has dropped 8 percent in just one year, and more than 20 percent in the past decade, according to new federal figures underscoring the impact of widespread reforms.  The drop, hailed by child-welfare advocates, is due largely to a shift in the policies and practices of state and county child welfare agencies. Many have been shortening stays in foster care, speeding up adoptions and expanding preventive support for troubled families so more children avoid being removed from their homes in the first place.

KPBS, California – September 1, 2010
California’s 80,000 foster children would receive housing, education, and other benefits until they are 21, under a bill passed by the State Legislature. The proposal goes to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for final approval.  Numerous studies show adults who grow up as foster children are at higher risk to end up in prison or unemployed.

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