Monday, May 09, 2011

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Cal State San Bernardino project strives for lower dropout rate

Redlands Daily Facts, Redlands, CA – May 7, 2011

During the last 18 months, a group of Cal State San Bernardino students and a professor have spent at least two days a week working with students at Colton High School. The effort known as Participatory Research Advocating For Excellence In Schools, PRAXIS, is all about reducing the high dropout rate in the Inland Empire, according to Louie Rodriguez, the Cal State San Bernardino assistant professor who started it. "This is more than anything a collaborative effort aimed at recognizing and responding to the education crisis facing us," he said. It was soon after he began teaching at Cal State that Rodriguez, a Colton High alumni who went on to graduate from Harvard University, became aware of the high dropout rate.

Go Blue Ridge, North Carolina – May 6, 2011
There’s good news for Watauga Schools as their school year winds down—drop-out rates are at new lows. The school system’s spring newsletter, quotes figures released by the State Board of Education in March showing the dropout rate declined to new lows both locally and statewide in 2009-10. The statewide dropout rate for grades 9-12 declined to 3.75% last year and the rate for Watauga High School fell to 2.74%, well below the state rate. The State Board had previously released good news on graduation rates. The four0year graduation rate rose to 74.2% statewide and to 82.0% at Watauga High School.   

Public broadcasters to tackle school dropout rates

The Wall Street Journal, Washington, DC – May 3, 2011
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is partnering with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and America's Promise Alliance on a new effort to combat the nation's high school dropout rate. Under the American Graduate initiative announced last Tuesday, public broadcasters will expand beyond early childhood education to reach students in middle school. The group says it's a critical time before more than one million students drop out of high school each year. The nonprofit CPB is the primary channel for federal funds directed to local stations. It will initially grant $4.4 million to 20 markets. The Gates Foundation will add $800,000. It will fund teacher town halls, tutoring programs and broadcasts about the dropout issue.

Juvenile Justice

Grant Offers Juvenile Court Drug Training Program

Juvenile Justice Information Exchange – May 8, 2011

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, The U.S. Department of Justice, and the Office of Justice Programs offers the 2011 Best Practices for Juvenile Courts Training Grant. The objective is for  juvenile drug courts to better serve kids who are involved in substance abuse, co-occurring substance abuse, and mental health trauma. This will be accomplished by using the Sixteen Strategies of Effective Juvenile Drug Courts as a framework to help build competency, performance and the capacity of the juvenile drug courts nationwide. The deadline for this is June 6, 2011.

County breaks ground on new Juvenile Justice Center
The Daily Courier, Prescott, AZ – May 8, 2011
Members of the community are invited to the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Yavapai County Juvenile Justice Center at 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 18, at 1100 Prescott Lakes Parkway, adjacent to the new roundabout on the parkway. The current juvenile court and detention center, which has been at 960 Division St. in Prescott near Yavapai Regional Medical Center and Prescott High School since 1974, will relocate in the summer of 2012 to the new multi-purpose facility designed to provide court and court-related services for children and their families who have cases involving juvenile delinquency, abuse and neglect, and adoptions. "The Juvenile Justice Center will provide better collaboration between all Yavapai County children's service agencies and will provide the infrastructure to implement an educational, pro-social, and rehabilitative setting for all the kids in our care," said Scott Mabery, director of Juvenile Court Service.

Foster Care

The Daily News, Kentucky – May 7, 2011
Program encourages foster kids to remain in the system when they turn 18. When she turned 18, Charlene Long left foster care without a support network to help her adjust to life as an adult, and she struggled with addiction and other problems. A program overseen by Court Appointed Special Advocates of South Central Kentucky is working to ensure a different outcome for Long’s teenage son. The local CASA branch began a Fostering Futures initiative last year, in which local youth remain in foster care past age 18 - when they age out of the system - in order to complete their high school education. Serving six counties, the program focuses on 16- and 17-year-olds in foster care, encouraging them to remain in the system to complete their education and informing them of their options in higher education and the job market after graduation.

Teens who are close to aging out of foster care find homes, hope

The Tennessean, Memphis, Tennessee – April 30, 2011

There was no genetic bond. No family history. In truth, Tevin Smith had met the Clarksville woman only once before. But last May, after years in the foster-care system, the young man from Memphis called Ami Smith and spoke six simple words. Mom, he said, I want to come home. For the better part of Tevin’s life, the state was his caretaker. Caseworkers led him from foster home to foster home. His possessions fit in a single Rubbermaid tub. Each time he relocated, he aged closer to becoming a legal adult but appeared no closer to having a family. “The way I felt, I just wanted to get away from everything and have a parent that I could call mom,” the 17-year-old said. Thousands of Tennessee children face similar situations. Recently the federal government ranked Tennessee first in the country in its ability to establish permanency for children and youth in foster care for 24 or more months, according to information from the state Department of Children’s Services.

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