Monday, October 04, 2010

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Valley News, Riverside, CA – October 1, 2010
A program to identify and help struggling high school students in Riverside County who are at risk of dropping out received a $1.3 million injection from the federal government, it was announced today.  The county's Office of Education was allocated the funds under the U.S. Department of Education's High School Graduation Initiative, which supports activities that engage troubled teens and attempt to steer them onto a productive academic course.

Hartford Courant, Hartford, CT – October 1, 2010
The federal government plans to spend $13.3 million in the next five years, including $2.7 million this school year, to reduce the dropout rate in a city where one out of two students don't graduate from high school, officials said Friday.  In an announcement at Hartford City Hall, U.S. Rep. John B. Larson, Mayor Pedro Segarra and Superintendent Steven Adamowski said the city school system would use the grant from the U.S. Department of Education to establish Student Success Centers at Bulkeley, Weaver and Hartford Public high schools.  The centers will offer tailored academic instruction and personal support to students who are considered "off-track," or have previously dropped out and are back in city schools, administrators said.

UPI, Washington, DC – September 30, 2010
Nearly $100 million in grants were awarded to state and local efforts to improve academic performance and support dropout prevention, U.S. officials said.  Twenty-eight high schools will receive $52.2 million under the Smaller Learning Communities program and 29 states and districts will receive $46.6 million under the High School Graduation Initiative program, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Thursday in a release.

Juvenile Justice

The Crime Report, New York, NY – September 29, 2010
New York City has begun to seriously re-think its juvenile detention policies, but it will take time for major changes to happen.  The city of New York operates a juvenile detention system, a sort of baby Rikers’ Island, where young people awaiting disposition of their family court cases are held. Like a city jail, the young people held in these facilities have not been found guilty of any crime. They are simply awaiting trial.  The Administration for Children’s Services and the Department of Juvenile Justice, which administer the facilities, don’t like to call them jails, or refer to the youth in them as incarcerated or label the court hearings for the children “trials.” There is a softer vocabulary for juvenile justice: youth are held in secure detention, remanded and awaiting disposition.

The News-Star, Monroe, LA – September 30, 2010
The goal to create a model juvenile drug court in the 4th District was a main topic of discussion Wednesday at the Joint Juvenile Justice Summit. District attorneys, judges, attorneys and probation officers from across the state gathered at the University of Louisiana at Monroe for the summit, hosted by the Louisiana Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the 4th Judicial District Court and the Louisiana District Attorneys Association.  The summit focused on issues within the state juvenile justice system and effective measures different entities are taking to ensure successful programs.

ABC32 WNFF, Montgomery, AL – October 1, 2010
Montgomery Public Schools has received a sizable federal grant to expand mentoring programs for at-risk students.  The U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention recently awarded MPS’ Safe Schools/Healthy Students (SS/HS) Initiative a two-year, $300,000 grant to begin offering community-based mentoring services to 60 students at-risk for truancy, juvenile delinquency, school failure and dropout.

Foster Care

Mercury News, California – October 2, 2010
Aiming to improve the dismal outcomes for thousands of 18-year-olds who leave the foster care system each year alone and impoverished, California will soon provide support through age 21 via a bill described as the most significant piece of foster care legislation in two decades.  The bill "legislates responsible parenting by the state," said Chantel Johnson, legislative coordinator for the California Youth Connection. Johnson, a former foster youth, said the new law will make her frightening experience "aging out" of foster care no longer so common: "I emancipated from a group home, and basically they handed us a trash bag on our 18th birthday after the cake and said: 'I hope you do well, come back and see us sometime.' "

Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama – September 30, 2010
Alabama's success in finding permanent homes for children in its foster care has paid off to the tune of $1.5 million. In 2009, the state had the highest number of adoptions in its history with 676 children being placed in permanent homes. And Gov. Bob Riley said he hopes that the momentum will continue long after he's out of office.

WQAD, Chicago, IL – October 2, 2010
Illinois has received a $10 million federal grant to test new ways of finding permanent homes for foster children.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the award Friday. It will fund a five-year project focusing on children ages 9 to 12. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services leads the project. Also involved are University of Chicago, Northwestern University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, the juvenile courts and the Child Care Association of Illinois.

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