Monday, October 25, 2010

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Daily Times, Middletown, PA – October 22, 2010
Imagine being in a very deep mine shaft with no light and no way to get out, and not even knowing you’re there.  That’s how Francis Carey, director of the Delaware County Office of Employment and Training, described the situation of high school dropouts, the focus of a two-day summit that culminated Thursday at Penn State Brandywine’s campus with a congregation of 50 social service agency, educational and business leaders, as well as students and parents.

Eagle-Tribune, Haverhill, MA – October 20, 2010
Denisse Baez said without programs like night school at Haverhill High, several of her friends would have quit long ago.  They would have joined former students who have kept Haverhill's dropout rate at nearly double the state average for the last five years.  The night school and other programs aimed at keeping potential dropouts in school will reach out to more students because of a federal grant announced yesterday. The grant total can reach $4 million in the next five years, school officials said.

Contra Costa Times, Oakland, CA – October 18, 2010
A 7-year-old nearly dwarfed by his black-and-white striped shirt and baggy pants, a 'tween in tight jeans and a whole stageful of youngsters did the moonwalk at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, nimbly gliding backward during a Michael Jackson dance contest. Nearby, a long line of parents and children waited for free shoes and school supplies in the bright August sun, while others grabbed free pizza.  The event: The city's third annual Back to School rally, cofounded by Nyeisha DeWitt and two fellow Oakland natives.  Apparently, there is no obstacle that can hinder DeWitt's fierce determination to keep Oakland children in school.

Juvenile Justice

Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL – October 18, 2010
It may be the only partnership of its kind in the U.S., bringing together CSO musicians, a music theater workshop focused on "at-risk" youths and the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice.  The path that led Chicago Symphony Chorus member Sarah Ponder to perform with residents in a youth correctional center began with two words uttered in 2008.  "Even prisons" were the words, and they were spoken by Riccardo Muti in his first Chicago news conference after being named music director of the 119-year-old classical music institution. The maestro outlined his plans for expanding the orchestra's community involvement to such areas as schools, hospitals, "even prisons."

Northland’s News Center, Duluth, MN – October 19, 2010
Community and government leaders came together Tuesday to discuss the importance of juvenile justice reform and ways to improve outcomes for kids.  The Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative formed almost a year and a half ago with the intention to change the effect the justice system has on troubled kids.

News Observer, Durham, NC – October 23, 2010
Child advocacy groups pushing North Carolina to join the rest of the nation in treating miscreant 16- and 17-year-olds as juveniles rather than adults will hold a public forum in Durham this afternoon.  Action for Children North Carolina and Covenant with North Carolina's Children, both based in Raleigh, are sponsoring the event. Panelists will discuss recidivism rates, childhood brain development and differences between the state's adult and juvenile justice systems.  North Carolina is the only state that treats all 16- and 17-year-olds as adults when they commit crimes, with no legal option to be processed as juveniles.

Foster Care

Seattle PI, King County, WA – October 18, 2010
Fueled by high unemployment and high housing costs, shelters for young adults in King County are turning people away in record numbers. The legacy of a failing foster care system and young people stranded by the crack epidemic of the late 1980s, the record demand experienced by these shelters illustrates a new face of homelessness, and comes even as the number of beds for young adults has been expanding.

The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN – October 24, 2010
Jerry Harris isn't in foster care anymore, but the 18-year-old college student still needs plenty of moral support.  So while he studies art education and lives at a friend's house, Harris also attends life skills classes at the nonprofit South Memphis Alliance on Bellevue. "This program has helped me out a bundle by teaching me how to save money, open a bank account and formulate a budget," he said.  "Because I was a big spender. I like stuff."

The Ledger, Auburndale, FL – October 23, 2010
Anchor House Ministries is negotiating to assist the state's foster-care system in a pilot project to better prepare teenagers for going it alone once they're of age. The Auburndale agency that serves as a group home for troubled boys is working to lease apartment space to Heartland for Children, a local nonprofit that oversees foster care and adoptions services for the Department of Children & Families. Heartland is exploring the idea of group settings like Anchor House, which provide safe habitat with a modicum of security and oversight, as an alternative to housing older foster teens enrolled in the state's Independent Living Program in private apartments or with friends and relatives.

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