Monday, September 13, 2010

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Star Tribune, Minneapolis, MN – September 8, 2010
A campaign to entice high school dropouts back to Minneapolis public schools has found some unexpected takers: the twenty-something siblings of the targeted teens -- and even their parents. For the district, the campaign offers an opportunity to cut a dropout rate that has been a subject of dispute, controversy and even gubernatorial politics. For dropouts, it's a second chance to gain the education necessary to survive in a hostile economy.

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Lubbock, TX – September 9, 2010
Teams of Lubbock Independent School District employees and community volunteers will be visiting the last known addresses of high school dropouts on Sept. 18 and attempting to convince them to return to school and complete their educations.  The initiative is called “Expectation Graduation,” and the school district is partnering with the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce in the dropout recovery program, Superintendent Karen Garza said at a Wednesday news conference.

Centre Daily News, Boston, MA – September 8, 2010
U.S. states have taken important steps over the last decade to improve high school graduation rates and stem the dropout crisis, but according to two new reports from Jobs for the Future, they still have an enormous amount of work to do to address these problems.  The reports -- Six Pillars of Effective Dropout Prevention and Recovery and Reinventing Alternative Education -- lay out model policy elements for dropout prevention and recovery as well as policies that would drive reinventing alternative education as a pathway to college for struggling students. The reports assess the extent to which recent state policy aligns with model policy elements.

Juvenile Justice

The Telegraph, Illinois – September 4, 2010
Since January, 17-year-olds charged with misdemeanor offenses in Illinois no longer have been tried in adult court, but instead are tried in juvenile court with access to rehabilitative services.  The new law, Public Act 95-1031, saw Illinois join 38 other states and the District of Columbia that consider 18 as the age of adult jurisdiction for misdemeanors. The law does not change the age for felonies, but the state did create a task force to examine issues surrounding raising adult jurisdiction for felonies from age 17 to age 18.

The Sun News, Brunswick County, SC – September 9, 2010
"Justice for Youth by Youth" is the theme of this year's Teen Court Training. This year the student volunteers will be focusing on service learning. As the students are giving back to their community by volunteering in Teen Court they will receive hands-on training in the justice system. All area youth between the ages of 13 and 18 are invited to attend the sessions on Sept. 21 and Sept. 23. The trainings will be held at the Brunswick County Courthouse from 6 to 8 p.m. Jurors are trained in the concept of restorative justice, which focuses on juveniles accepting responsibility for his/her actions and repairing the harm caused by delinquent and problem behavior. The jurors look at aggravating and mitigating factors and will unanimously decide on a constructive sentence for the offender that will keep the offender from returning to the juvenile justice system.

Foster Care

Stafford County Sun, Culpeper, VA – September 10, 2010
At the age of 18, many foster care children in Virginia "age out" of the system.
They are considered adults and have the opportunity to either stay with their foster care families or take advantage of the independent living program, which starts well before they turn 18 and prepares foster care children with the tools to become self-sufficient.  They actually "age out" of the independent living program at 21.  During these vital, formative years, Germanna Community College is also providing valuable educational opportunities for at-risk young adults to transition into college and/or a career through the Great Expectations program.  This initiative consists of a two-day on-campus program, as well as a six-month mentorship program for foster care children aging out of the system.

WDAY News, Fargo, ND – September 4, 2010
North Dakota is at the forefront of a new trend in the way foster care is administered: Don't put children in foster care.  The idea is to help families help themselves so they can keep their children, rather than having a judge order them into the foster care system.  When children stay with their families, they typically do better in school, and the odds of them aging out of the foster care system and struggling with adult life free of the assistance they received before are diminished, said Gary Wolsky, president and CEO of The Village Family Service Center in Fargo.

News Chief, Bartow, FL – September 4, 2010
Polk Works has been selected as one of only three Florida workforce regions to participate in a program to help youth who are aging out of foster care.  The 'Bridges to Success' program will focus on helping youth obtain the life skills and education necessary to become self-sufficient, live independently and maintain employment.  "Polk Works is honored to receive this AWI Grant which will provide over $280,000 in funding to assist Polk County youth between the ages of 18 and 21, aging out of the foster care system and address the specific needs of this growing population,'" said Polk Works CEO and President Stacy Campbell-Domineck.

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