Monday, November 29, 2010

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


The Sun, San Bernardino, CA – November 26, 2010
Karla Antunez has only just begun her studies at San Gorgonio High School, but her father is already looking ahead to her graduation date.  To ensure she and other area students get there, Jorge Antunez and other parents involved with Inland Congregations United for Change have embarked on an effort to improve graduation rates in the San Bernardino City Unified School District.  "Little by little the dropout rate in the district is decreasing, but there are still a lot of dropouts, so I want to make sure my daughter graduates and gets a career," he said.  

USA Today – November 26, 2010
A growing network of online classes is giving thousands of high school students a second or third chance to pass courses they need to graduate, from algebra and history to health and physical education.  The classes are part of a widening phenomenon called credit recovery — a term that sounds more about erasing debt than advancing education but actually enables troubled students to get credit for classes they've previously failed or didn't complete.

The Salem News, Salem, OR – November 23, 2010
A public charter school would help the city better meet the needs of a significant but hard-to-reach group — high school dropouts and at-risk students — community leaders told a state commission yesterday.  Advocates for the Salem Community Charter School touted the opportunities the new program would provide to a student group struggling to achieve under traditional teaching models.

The Wall Street Journal, Albany, NY – November 27, 2010
A report commissioned by the state's Office of Children and Family Services says hauling parents into family court is not the best way to combat a rising tide of kids who chronically miss school.  In New York City, "chronic absenteeism" — when a student misses at least 20 of the 180 days in a school year — afflicts 40 percent of high school students and educators currently refer cases to social services for neglect.  "I've talked to a lot of principals on this," said Kim Nauer, who researched the city's statistics. "Schools call in these child protective services reports because they're frustrated with the families and their inability to get these kids to school."  Under New York law, chronic school absence is a trigger for complaints to the Office of Children and Family Services. Referrals can lead to family court, foster care or probation-like PINS supervision.

Juvenile Justice

Correctional News, Washington, DC – November 24, 2010
The Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice released its annual report calling for various reforms to the juvenile justice system in the United States.  The FACJJ Annual Report 2010 is distributed to members of congress and the executive branch providing recommendations as to the federal government’s role in the juvenile justice system, which falls under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, which oversees the committee. FACJJ members are made up if juvenile justice professionals from every state.
The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, FL – November 26, 2010
When a Jacksonville mother signed her 16-year-old son up for a program aimed at keeping lawbreaking juveniles from having a criminal future, his reaction was uplifting, she said.  At the time, Gregory Glover was being held in the Hastings Youth Academy on a 14-month sentence for battery on a school resource officer.  "I know this is a good program because I saw a light go on in him," Jodi D. Glover recalled.

Foster Care

Omaha World-Herald, Nebraska – November 27, 2010
Her job title is youth navigator, but Beth Croston Hansen doesn’t use an atlas. She helps youths turning 19 progress to independent living as they become too old for Nebraska’s foster care system.  “The goal of this program is to help them make the transition after aging out of foster care. My job mainly is to get them hooked up with medical care,” Croston Hansen said.  She does that through her job at OneWorld Community Health Centers, 4920 S. 30th St., in the Livestock Exchange Building.  Last year, 208 children in Nebraska aged out of foster care. Four of them returned to their families, and the other 204 began to live on their own, according to statistics from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

The Times Leader, Harrisburg, PA – November 26, 2010
Gov. Ed Rendell signed into law Wednesday legislation authored by state Rep. Phyllis Mundy, D-Kingston, to protect the rights of foster children.  Act No. 119, known as the Children in Foster Care Act, addresses the basic needs that weigh greatly in a child’s quality of life.  They include: the right to live in a safe and healthy home; access to routine medical care; access to a quality education; access to life-skills training and services to ease the transition to adulthood; and freedom from harassment, corporal punishment, unreasonable restraint, and physical, sexual, emotional and other abuse.

The Oakland Tribune, Richmond, VA – November 24, 2010
Growing up surrounded by violence and drugs, suffering abuse and moving from home to home, Adrian Morris was more preoccupied with surviving than doing well in school.  The Richmond girl's mother dealt with addiction, and her father was in and out of jail. For several years, Morris and her sister bounced between relatives' homes, then were removed to foster care when Morris was 10. For the next eight years, Morris made her way through a half-dozen foster homes, always trying to get by. "It was really hard," she said. "You had drugs and prostitution around you, and on top of that you have to go to school. I didn't really pay attention in my classes. I didn't care about myself at all."

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