Monday, December 13, 2010

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


The Boston Globe, Concord, NH – December 12, 2010
New Hampshire wants its youth to graduate from high school -- whether they are in school, in jail or homeless.  Teachers, students, administrators and others will gather in Concord on Monday to discuss strategies to reduce the state's already low dropout rate.  Gov. John Lynch is responsible for the Governor's Third New Hampshire Summit on High School Graduation. Lynch has made reducing the dropout rate a high priority of his administration and was behind a law that took effect last year that raised the compulsory education age from 16 to 18, giving all students the chance to graduate from high school.

Dropout rate for blacks doesn't tell full story
San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland, CA – December 10, 2010
The recent figures released by the state Department of Education, which show a statewide public high school dropout rate of 37 percent among African American students, is a symptom of a broader social malaise and not an accurate measure of one group's performance.  Because when you hear some of the stories of children living in big city, high-crime neighborhoods, you come to understand that steering clear of troubled streets is in itself a full-time job.

Detroit Free Press, Michigan – December 11, 2010
Two years ago, southeast Michigan had 30 failing high schools -- schools where fewer than six in 10 freshmen went on to graduate. Today, that number is down to 22, the United Way says. Some poor schools have closed, and five schools are showing the promise of a turnaround through a United Way program that breaks them into small academies.  On Friday, General Motors jumped into the effort, announcing that it would pump $27.1 million over the next five years into the project to transform five yet-to-be-selected metro Detroit high schools, along with centers nearby to prepare children for kindergarten.

Juvenile Justice

WIBW, Washington, DC – December 9, 2010
More than 250 youth, parents and advocates descended on the nation’s capital this weekend to launch this week's "National Juvenile Justice Week of Action," declaring in a unified voice that the U.S. juvenile justice system is unaccountable, expensive, and unsafe – and that Congress and the Obama Administration need to pass legislation that protects children.

Public News Service, California – December 6, 2010
Young people who have made some wrong decisions in the past now need adults to make some right decisions. Hundreds of youth from California and other states are in the nation's capital today to urge Congress and President Obama to pass legislation that they say protects children. Tshaka Barrows, with California's Community Justice Network for Youth (CJNY), says they're supporting the Youth PROMISE (Prison Reduction through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support, and Education) Act.

Foster Care

The Boston Globe – December 9, 2010
Since she aged out of foster care three years ago, Kaila Dunn has lived in more homeless shelters than she can recall, often dingy dwellings full of drunken men, rampant drug use, and too many people seeking to take advantage of her. “It’s really scary and lonely to be in a place with so many creepy adults with so many issues,’’ she said.  The 21-year-old high school dropout from Randolph is among what city, state, and federal officials say is a rising number of homeless youths and young adults. Every year, tens of thousands of them become too old to remain in state custody or land on the streets because of broken families.

Contra Costa Times, Hollywood, CA – December 12, 2010
The long white van with tinted windows crawls to a stop off a Hollywood street one night, luring those too old to be called children but too young to care about 401(k)s.  What comes from inside the vehicle brightens otherwise slack-jawed expressions on sallow faces: free peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches, bottled water and, if the private donations have come through, underwear, socks and toothpaste.  On a recent cold evening, the homeless youths who live on Hollywood's streets are forgoing food for anything that brings them warmth., Tucson, AZ – December 9, 2010
A local non-profit called "In my Shoes" which is a part of the Arizona Children Association launched a campaign Wednesday in search of mentors for teens in 'out of home' care.  The campaign is called "Will You Be There." The goal is to match mentors who have been through foster care with teens currently living outside of home care. "Many of children age out of foster care without a forever family so when you think about birthdays, holidays, support getting through college, it's generally not there."

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