Monday, September 27, 2010

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


USA Today – September 24, 2010
America is facing a high school dropout crisis of shocking proportions -- three out of every 10 young adults drop out of school, including nearly half of minority students. And the impact that it has on these youth is one that cannot be ignored:  "According to the Alliance for Excellent Education, if dropouts from the class of 2009 had graduated, the country would have benefited from an additional $335 billion in income over the course of their lifetimes," Colin Powell recently wrote in an op-ed for Cities that are working hard to reverse these statistics received some major props earlier in the week.

Star Tribune, Minnesota – September 21, 2010
West metro neighbors St. Louis Park and Edina made the fourth annual list of "100 Best Communities for Young People," released by a national group striving to lower high school dropout rates. St. Louis Park was recognized for three programs: Building Assets -- Reducing Risk, which helps ninth-grade students make the transition to high school; Admission Possible, which helps promising low-income students obtain admission to college, and "No Shots, No School," which helps students start school with up-to-date immunizations.  In Edina, the award recognizes the community's "Connecting With Kids," an initiative that focuses on developing healthy kids and teens, as well as high graduation rates and number of Advanced Placement classes.

WRDW, Richmond County, GA – September 21, 2010
It’s a brand new position for one Richmond County high school, designed to get kids in class, and keep them there.  Tuesday night, the Richmond County School Board announced Sharon Hill as the new dropout prevention specialist for Lucy C. Laney High School. The position was created as part of the school improvement grant - federal money to help turn around the state’s most troubled high schools.

Juvenile Justice

The Republic, Indianapolis, IN – September 24, 2010
The Indiana Department of Correction is getting some federal help to keep recently released juvenile convicts on the straight and narrow. Youths in the program will attend a monthlong academy for a series of life-skills and job readiness classes, educational and employment assistance, and contact with community-based resources

Southeast Missourian, Cape Girardeau, MO – September 22, 2010
At a panel discussion Tuesday held to launch her own juvenile justice reform organization, it was hard for Jackson mother and longtime advocate Tracy McClard not to get emotional.  Still, McClard held nothing back and told bits of her son Jonathan's story, demonstrating why youths shouldn't be locked up in adult prison. Her son committed suicide in an adult facility in January 2008 at age 17. McClard was joined by five other speakers at Centenary United Methodist Church, where they addressed a crowd of around 50 people, many of them high school and college students. The organization, Families and Friends Organizing for Reform for Juvenile Justice, is the first parent-led initiative in the state focused on improving the country's juvenile justice system.

Foster Care

AB12 would help foster youths until age 21
San Francisco Chronicle, California – September 22, 2010
Legislation that would extend assistance to children in foster care until their 21st birthday passed out of the Legislature last week with overwhelming bipartisan support. The only thing left is for the governor to sign AB12.

Progress-Index, Richmond, VA – September 22, 2010
20 grant to Children's Home Society of Virginia to support a new program serving older children in foster care who are awaiting adoption.  The Adolescent Workshop Series will help prepare teens for adoption by addressing issues many youth in foster care face, including trauma, lack of self- esteem, attachment and identity.

The Reno Gazette-Journal, Reno, NV – September 22, 2010
The Lyon County Human Services Department has been awarded $150,000 over the next three years through the Chafee and Fund to Assist Former Youth (FAFFY) grant programs to assist current and former foster youths in transitioning out of foster care and attaining self-sufficiency. The funding, provided by the Nevada Division of Child and Family Services, will help foster youths between the ages of 15 and 21 gain the necessary skills and support services to become self-sufficient as adults.

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