Monday, January 03, 2011

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


The Charlotte Post – December 29, 2010
In the last decade, a national coalition of public school educators, parents and civic activists have charted substantial progress in deterring tens of thousands of students from dropping out of high school, according to a newly-published study.  The study showed there were 120,000 more high school graduates in 2008 than in 2001 (holding population constant) – a result fueled by overall graduation-rate increases in 29 states and significant graduation-rate increases among African-American, Latino-American and Native-American pupils.

News Observer, North Carolina – December 31, 2010
North Carolina has become the nation's incubator of early college high schools, with one-third of the total in the United States.  A new one will be launched in 2011 at N.C. State University, bringing the innovative concept of blended high school and college to one of the state's flagship campuses. The school will focus on science and technology, and its location - the edge of NCSU's Centennial Campus - is sure to be a draw. Early college high schools offer free college courses and an accelerated educational path to students who are often the first in their family to go to college. North Carolina has 71 such schools with 15,000 students - more than any other state.
WLTX, The Greenville News – December 28, 2010
While a proposal to lower the number of credits some students need to graduate from South Carolina high schools would save money, some educators say it would leave students shortchanged.  School districts could save thousands of dollars by winnowing elective offerings that no longer would be required of students not planning to pursue a four-year degree, said state Rep. Dan Cooper, a Piedmont Republican who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee and a sponsor of the bill.

Juvenile Justice

WKMG Local 6, Tallahassee, FL – December 31, 2010
The head of the Miami-Dade Juvenile Services Department, whose programs to keep young offenders out of detention have served as national models, will become the first woman to lead Florida's juvenile justice department.  Gov.-elect Rick Scott on Friday appointed Wansley Walters to lead the state's Department of Juvenile Justice.  Walters, who headed Scott's juvenile justice transition team, is currently the director of juvenile services in Miami-Dade County.

WINK News Now, Fort Myers, FL – December 29, 2010
Fla-Kaley Graham is a different teen than she was two years ago.  "I was skipping school, I was going out for the weekends, and not coming back until Sunday night really late," she told WINK News.  Graham says family trouble led her to start hanging out with the wrong crowd at school. She was eventually kicked off the cheerleading team, and suspended from high school.  "Without Pace, I'd probably be on my own," Graham explained.
Winston-Salem Journal, North Carolina – December 30, 2010
Gov. Bev Perdue is trying to save some money with her proposed government reorganization. A coalition of child-advocacy groups has sound concerns, however, that one element of that plan will unnecessarily harm services designed to help children stay out of trouble with the law.  Perdue has proposed reducing the number of state departments from 14 to eight. In the process, she expects to reduce administrative costs and improve efficiency. One move would group the current Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention into a larger Department of Public Safety that would be focused on criminal punishment.

Foster Care

Youth Today – December 28, 2010
More than a year after passage of a law intended to give more support to youths aging out of foster care, the federal government is now pushing states to participate in two programs that promote guardianship placements and extension of foster care until age 21.  The two programs were included in the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act, which was signed into law in October of 2009 and allows for two new uses of federal IV-E funds, a large federal entitlement that matches state expenditures for child welfare services. One allows states to use federal IV-E funds to help pay for a guardianship assistance program (GAP); the other enables states to use IV-E money on young adults up to the age of 21.

The New York Times, Bronx, NY – December 26, 2010
Lydia Monserrate lived in 13 foster homes in the past five years. But she is not an orphan.  “I asked my mom a thousand times if I could come back home,” Ms. Monserrate, 21, said quietly, her face wearing a mask of pain.  When she was 14, Ms. Monserrate, who grew up in the Castle Hill section of the Bronx, began skipping school. She befriended the neighborhood “bad girls,” and they shoplifted, hopped subway turnstiles and drank in the park. One summer she ran away to Southern California, where she stayed with an aunt.

Southwest Minneapolis Patch, Minneapolis, MN – December 29, 2010
Over the holidays, the first three tenants moved into Nicollet Square, an innovative new housing project for homeless youth in Kingfield. By the end of January, all 42 studio apartments should be occupied at the project, which combines social services, affordable housing and employment assistance for young people struggling with homelessness or aging out of foster care.

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