Monday, January 10, 2011

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore MD – January 6, 2011
When Dorian Teal wanted to turn his life around, the high-school dropout decided he didn't just want to be great, he wanted to be educated.  The now-20-year-old student, who dropped out of Edmondson-Westside High School two years ago, is among the more than 2,000 students who have made their way back to the Baltimore school system in the past three years to take advantage of the Great Kids Come Back campaign, an effort launched by the school system in 2008 to lower the city's dropout rate.

The Salt Lake Tribune, Utah – January 5, 2011
The high school graduation rate is up in Utah — up to about 90 percent for last school year, according to the state Office of Education.  But it could drop significantly for this school year, when Utah will be required to change the way it calculates graduation rates.  About 90 percent of the Class of 2010 graduated, up from 88 percent in 2009, according to the state office. Graduation rates also rose among each of Utah’s ethnic groups, and the gaps between the rates of white students and Latino, American Indian and black students narrowed by several percentage points.
Lubbock Avalanch-Journal, Montana – January 7, 2011
One of the great tragedies in our society are people who are capable of graduating from high school but don’t.  The Lubbock Independent School District began a new initiative at the start of the current school year called Expectation Graduation — designed to help students who didn’t graduate to get back on track to receiving their diplomas.

Juvenile Justice

NY Daily News, New York, NY – January 4, 2011
Gov. Cuomo on Wednesday will call for an overhaul of the state's troubled juvenile justice system - putting him on a collision course with Mayor Bloomberg.  Cuomo, in his first State of the State address on Wednesday afternoon, will propose tightening the state's reins on the system by consolidating the 25 detention facilities.  Bloomberg is demanding the state hand over control of jailing juveniles to local governments, meaning New York City kids in detention would remain in the five boroughs - instead of heading upstate.
The Examiner, Washington, D.C. – January 4, 2011
The District's troubled juvenile justice agency is looking for a yoga teacher, or maybe a tai-chi instructor, to work with some of the city's most dangerous youths. The idea for the new Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services programming comes from interim deputy director Barry Holman. Late last month, Holman e-mailed the agency's staff to see if they have "hidden talents that might be tapped to further our work with the young people in our care." In the e-mail obtained by The Washington Examiner, Holman said his primary interest was in finding among the staff an instructor certified in yoga, tai-chi, or another "mind-body connection discipline."  The agency is coming off a controversial year during which more than a dozen of its wards were charged with murder and at least a half-dozen were killed. A heavy focus on rehabilitation programs for city youths was blamed by critics for the soaring violence. Under political pressure, former Mayor Adrian Fenty fired then DYRS interim director Marc Schindler six months after he replaced Vincent Schiraldi.

Foster Care

The Gazette, Montgomery County, MD – January 5, 2011
If there is a problem, Carol Trawick's skill, sometimes what she calls her affliction, is finding a way to make it better.  The philanthropist's "give where you live" philosophy has helped shape Bethesda and the rest of the county through donations totaling millions of dollars to arts, health and humanities charities. The Latin American Youth Center will use a $230,000 Youth in Transition grant to provide work experience for teenagers aging out of foster care, or who are teen parents, Montero said.

Examiner, Hartford, CT – January 5, 2011
Families in Connecticut who have foster and adoptive children have a resource available that can provide children with a creative outlet in which they can express their emotions.  Creative Arts for Developing Minds “provides opportunities for creative expression, enhancement of positive self-esteem, and development of a sense of community to foster care and adoptive children aged two through twelve, through music, art and movement.”   Creative Arts for Developing Mindsis the only organization in Connecticut which uses the arts to respond to the unique psychological effects of early childhood trauma experienced by foster care and adoptive children.

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