Monday, June 27, 2011

This Week’s News: Youth in Transition


Case High School Dropout Becomes RUSD Teacher, Mount Pleasant, WI – June 24, 2011
The Horlick High School Class of 2011 had an interesting choice for graduation speaker this year: a high school dropout. That dropout -- Aaron Eick -- is now a teacher at Horlick, after bailing out of Racine's Case High School during his "second junior year" back in 1998. He wants to share his story because it shows that teachers really can make a difference.

SC High School Dropout Rates Drop
WYFF Greenville, Greenville, SC – June 23, 2011
The number of high school dropouts from South Carolina high schools dropped two years in a row according to the South Carolina Department of Education. A report tracking dropout rates from the 2007-2008 school year through the 2009-2010 school year showed the number of dropouts declined 22 percent over the two-year period.

MTV Developing New Documentary Project About High School Dropouts‎
Hollywood Reporter – June 23, 2011
MTV is hoping that shedding light on high school dropouts will encourage kids to stay in school with a possible new documentary project about high school dropouts. MTV hopes the project will reignite young people’s passion for learning and stoke their interest in pursuing a career. Apparently, it’s so early in the process that the creative decisions are still being made as to what form the documentary project will take.

Juvenile Justice

Georgetown selects Berks County for national juvenile justice program, Washington, DC – June 26, 2011
The Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University in Washington selected its four departments from applicants representing 30 states. Berks County’s juvenile probation department is one of four departments nationwide to be selected for a Georgetown University program to find better ways to reduce crime. The program costs $225,000 and will be funded by a $175,000 Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency grant and $50,000 from the university.

US Department of Labor announces $20 million in grants to support young people transitioning from justice facilities to the workforce
United States Department of Labor, Washington DC — June 21, 2011
The U.S. Department of Labor today announced 15 grants totaling $20 million through the Civic Justice Corps program to help formerly incarcerated individuals ages 18-24 reconnect with their communities and find pathways to success through community service and educational opportunities. Beyond service opportunities, the Civic Justice Corps offers postsecondary education and training, community connections, high staff-to-participant ratios, career development, and post-program support and follow-up, all of which help reduce recidivism rates.

Foster Care

CASA for kids gets grants
The Daily Courier, Prescott, AZ – June 26, 2011
Yavapai CASA for Kids, Inc. (C for K), a non-profit organization that serves the unmet needs of abused and/or neglected children who are in the care of the Court (and often living in foster homes), is proud to announce that it was recently awarded six new grants.

50 years of foster care: Elaine VanLeeuwen, of Portage, honored for half-century of service to kids, Kalamazoo, MI – June 25, 2011
More than 500 children have called her “Mom” or, these days, “Grandma,” over the past half-century. Elaine VanLeeuwen, of Portage, has never said “no” when asked to take a child into her Portage home, according to Joyce Daily-Spence, foster care and adoption services program director at Family & Children’s Services.

Court-ordered raise for foster parents due in July
Contra Costa Times, Contra Costa, California – June 25, 2011
Deanna and Dave Mitchell's first foster care assignment arrived in bulk. Forty years and more than 400 foster children later, Deanna Mitchell insists, "We have received back much more than we have given." It is not unusual for foster parents to cite the emotional benefits of caring for neglected or abused children, but it takes real currency to keep the foster care system running. To this end, California's foster care parents earned a big victory last month, when U.S. District Judge William Alsup ruled that the state has chronically under-compensated them.

Teen Pregnancy

Daughter of teen mom counsels peers against teen pregnancies‎
New York Daily News, Washington Heights, NY – June 23, 2011
Patsy Garcia, 17, who works as a peer educator for a teen pregnancy prevention program, is the daughter of a teen mom. In a world where teens behaving badly are rewarded with reality-star status, Patsy Garcia of Washington Heights is a welcome reality check. She is the product of a teen pregnancy and, at 17, Garcia is the same age her mom was when she got pregnant. But instead of echoing her mother's choices, Garcia works to get the word out about teen pregnancy prevention and safe sex.

Nonprofit receives grant to fight teen pregnancy
Daily Times, Farmington, NM – June 23, 2011
Capacity Builders, a Farmington nonprofit organization, has received a $5 million, five-year federal grant for an initiative to reduce teen pregnancy on the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Youth Builder campaign kicks off in the fall when students return to school. “Teen pregnancy is a concern everywhere, especially rural communities because kids don't have anything to do,” said Rachel Nawrocki, executive director for Capacity Builders.

Monday, June 20, 2011

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Combating The High School Dropout Rate
KXO Radio, El Centro, California – June 19, 2011
There is promising news for teens at risk of dropping out of high school with new programs designed to help them stay in school and succeed. This comes after a 2006 study by Bridgeland, Dilulio & Morison found that 80 percent of high school dropouts said their chances of staying in school would have increased if classes were more interesting and provided opportunities for real-world learning.

Gateway to College program helps high school dropouts
The Des Moines Register, Des Moines, Iowa – June 16, 2011
Des Moines Area Community College is offering its Gateway to College program this fall for students who dropped out of high school. This is not a GED program, but a high school completion program that gives students the opportunity to earn college credits while completing their high school diploma.

School dropout turned High Court judge honored
Brisbane Times, Australia – June 13, 2011
A high school dropout who became Australia's third female High Court judge has been awarded the highest Queen's Birthday honor. Justice Susan Kiefel has been appointed a Companion in the Order of Australia for eminent service to the law and to the judiciary, law reform and legal education.

Juvenile Justice

More Calls to Reform Pa.'s Judicial Conduct System, Pennsylvania – June 20, 2011
The advocacy group Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts is the latest to weigh in on the issue of judicial discipline reform. The group released a report Wednesday that expanded on several of the recommendations the Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice made a little more than a year ago, but diverged on one key issue: funding for the Judicial Conduct Board and the Court of Judicial Discipline.

Protecting youthful offenders
The Washington Post – June 18, 2011
Every day, some 10,000 juveniles are held in adult jails or prisons at an increased risk of rape and other forms of sexual abuse and violence. Others are held in isolation and experience the emotional and psychological harm that comes from being cut off from human contact. The Justice Department now has an opportunity to address the detention or incarceration protocols for youths charged or convicted as adults.

Chief Justice Starts Juvenile Services Commission
WBOY-TV, Charleston, WV – June 13, 2011
An Adjudicated Juvenile Rehabilitation Review Commission has been established by West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Justice Margaret L. Workman to examine the Division of Juvenile Services’ operations plan and other facilities operated by that division. The commission’s initial plan is to look into the Industrial Home for Youth in Salem and the Honey Rubenstein Center in Davis and report the findings to the Supreme Court.

How Cops Turn 'Stop and Frisk' Into 'Stop and Arrest'
The Root, New York, NY – June 13, 2011
Justice-reform advocates want young Black and Hispanic men to avoid being tricked by police into emptying their pockets. Advocates of drug and juvenile-justice reform have launched a campaign against what they contend are the New York Police Department's illegal "stop and frisks" and the disproportionate number of arrests of Black and Hispanic young men.

Foster Care

Foster father enjoys providing kids with stable home
The Detroit News, Grand Black, MI – June 19, 2011
For people who think foster parents take in children only for the money, Michael Bradley has a message: "If you want to make a small fortune in foster care, start with a large one," he said. The 56-year-old from Grand Blanc has had six foster children since 2008.

Agency to take over foster care for Catholic Charities in Rockford
Chicago Tribune, Ottawa, IL – June 16, 2011
Youth Service Bureau of Illinois Valley intends to interview and hire the 58 staff members who oversee more than 300 foster children now under the care of Catholic Charities in the Rockford Diocese. The Catholic agency elected to terminate publicly funded foster care and adoption services on June 1 when civil unions went into effect – effective June 30. The Youth Service Bureau does not have criteria for foster parents regarding sexual orientation.

Elderly couple looks to care for 72nd foster child
KPLC-TV, Allentown, PA – June 15, 2011
An elderly couple in Pennsylvania has raised 71 foster kids, and said they're ready for one more. Thomas and Ann Rose said they really want to provide a home for another foster child. "We have children. We have grandchildren. They were getting older, didn't have any babies, so we thought we'd do this," Ann said.

Teen Pregnancy

Augusta Juvenile Court takes aim at teen pregnancy‎
WRDW-TV, Augusta, GA – June 17, 2011
Statistics show Richmond County taxpayers have spent more than $100 million over the last 10 years helping support teen moms and dads. One Juvenile Court Judge says enough is enough with the idea to tackle teen pregnancy with more than $1 million in grant money.

City Planning Program To Curb Teen Pregnancy‎
Hartford Courant, Hartford, CT – June 16, 2011
With a teen pregnancy rate more than three times the state average, city and agency officials are planning an ambitious program to try to curb the problem. With a five-year, $4.5 million grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the city's health and human services department and Office for Youth Services are collaborating on the effort with Planned Parenthood of Southern New England and Hartford Action Plan.

Monday, June 13, 2011

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


State leads U.S. with 90.7% graduation rate, Wisconsin – June 11, 2011
Wisconsin has one of the highest graduation rates in the country — the highest, according to one method of calculation — and many of the school districts in Manitowoc County have even higher rates than the state.

New National Campaign Launched To Boost High School Graduation Rate
Diverse, Washington, DC – June 8, 2011
At a news briefing on Tuesday at the U.S. Capitol, a group of representatives from the Campaign for High School Equity coalition unveiled the campaign’s new “Plan For Success” while urging lawmakers to take more decisive steps toward addressing the nation's high school dropout rate.

Conn. House votes to clarify high school dropout age; notifies parents of failing students
Harford, CT – June 6, 2011
The Connecticut House on Monday passed legislation requiring school principals to give parents and guardians a heads-up if their student is in danger of flunking a course. Under the bill, which passed 95-49, principals would notify parents of students in grades six through 12, in writing or electronically, of a possible failing grade at the middle of the marking period or at least six weeks before the grade is final.

Juvenile Justice

New Indiana law aims to help at-risk children
The Herald Bulletin, Lafayette, IN – June 13, 2011
A new state law aims to help at-risk children get services to put them on the right path before they have a criminal record. The Journal & Courier of Lafayette reported that the law essentially allows juvenile court judges to create voluntary programs to provide early intervention options for at-risk young people before they're adjudicated as a delinquent. An adjudication in juvenile court is similar to a conviction for adults.

State saves on alternatives to juvenile detention, Springfield, IL – June 13, 2011
The state saved about $9 million last year by sending 184 youth to community-based services as an alternative to incarceration, according to a report from the Illinois Department of Human Services. Through the Redeploy Illinois program, certain counties commit to reducing, by at least 25 percent, the number of youth incarcerated with the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice in exchange for grant money that pays for services such as counseling, drug treatment and family support services.

Foster Care

Foster Care Gets an Overhaul
The Wall Street Journal, Alameda County, CA – June 9, 2011
A risky plan to turn around Alameda County's foster-care system is paying dividends, reducing the number of kids in the program while providing more help to older teens as they make the transition to adulthood. On the heels of hiring about 50 social workers and opening a new community center last month, Alameda is preparing a job-placement program for some of its foster-care kids who have become too old for the system. The new program is part of an expansion that began in 2007 when the county started to overhaul the operation by questioning established ways foster care operates.

OH Budget Proposal Bridges Gap from Foster Care to Adulthood
Public News Service, Columbus, OH – June 7, 2011
More than $2 million could help Ohio's foster youth find their way in the "real world," but only if the state Senate budget passes. Lawmakers are proposing the additional funding for programs that assist teens as they transition out of foster care and learn to live as independent adults.

Foster kids get a special high school graduation ceremony
The Miami Herald, Miami-Dade County, FL – June 12, 2011
High school graduation is a day most people will always remember. But on Saturday, about 70 foster children celebrated more than just this rite of passage; they were honored by their case workers, child advocates and child welfare agencies for the adversities they’ve overcome. “We let the kids know how important it is to celebrate their achievements,” said Fran Allegra, CEO for Our Kids, a private nonprofit agency responsible for overseeing foster care services in Miami-Dade County and the Keys.

Teen Pregnancy

Hickenlooper signs bill extending teen pregnancy prevention program, Colorado – June 9, 2011
Pregnant teenagers in Colorado will continue to get help from the state thanks to a bill signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper that extends and expands a teen pregnancy and dropout prevention program. The bi-partisan bill signed this week by Hickenlooper (SB11-177) builds upon an existing program begun in 1995, the Medicaid Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, that is aimed at reducing the incidence of teen pregnancy high school dropout rates and “promoting self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and a sense of personal responsibility in making appropriate family planning decisions” among at-risk teens and teen parents.

CASA holds seminar for at risk teen girls
Fox 31, Albany, GA – June 10, 2011
A group of at-risk teenage girls got some special attention and motivation Friday.  Dougherty County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) held a seminar at the Albany police department, aimed at getting the girls to see themselves in a positive light.  They say many of the girls are battling issues like teen pregnancy and low self esteem.

Group strives to change negative influences with positive deeds, Jacksonville, NC – June 12, 2011
A group of Jacksonville teens are coming together to provide an outlet for youth who want to change their community, one project at a time. The North Carolina chapter of Youth in Action was founded last year by 15-year-old Ashanti Curry, an actively involved sophomore at Northside High School. Underage drinking and smoking, bullying and teen pregnancy are just some of the issues that Youth in Action want to address through a variety of monthly projects and activities.

Monday, June 06, 2011

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


High School Dropouts Get A Second Chance, Lake Elsinore-Wildomar, CA – June 5, 2011
A record 170 county residents will be graduating from the "Come Back Kids'' program run by the county's Office of Education. One-time Riverside County high school dropouts will get diplomas Monday (today), thanks to a program aimed at getting them back on track. The number of graduates is six times greater than it was when the program began in 2008, Public Information Officer Rick Peoples said.

Program eyes Biddeford High School dropout rates
Keep Me Current, Biddeford, ME – June 2, 2011
Students who know the adults at their school care about them and who believe their absence will be noticed and missed are more likely to attend regularly, which is key to helping students achieve academically and in lowering dropout rates. This is the main reason Biddeford High School is instituting a pilot Freshmen Academy in the fall, according to Jeff Porter, assistant superintendent for Biddeford schools. The program will include 80 incoming freshmen that will have the same group of teachers and yearlong classes in the core subjects of English, math, science and social studies.

Dropout rates decline in Jefferson, Bullitt Counties
WAVE 3, Louisville, KY – June 1, 2011
There’s good news from the Kentucky Department of Education: the results of a recent study indicate the dropout rate is decreasing and attendance is increasing. Overall, 20 of the district's 21 high schools reduced their dropout rates, which is the first time in five years the district's dropout rate has been below 5 percent. Student attendance also increased - with 5,000 fewer absences during the 2009-10 school year - raising the district's student attendance rate to 93.78 percent (from 93.73).

Senate votes to leave NH dropout age at 18
Boston Globe, Concord, NH – June 1, 2011
New Hampshire lawmakers are voting against lowering the high school dropout age from 18 to 16. The Senate voted 18-6 Wednesday to kill a bill that allowed 16- and 17-year-olds to drop out with a parent's permission. Gov. John Lynch pushed a law that passed in 2007 that raised the dropout age to 18. Under it, school districts have to seek out dropouts living in their area and urge them to return to school or enroll in an alternative program.

Juvenile Justice

Grant Seeks Systematic Change In Juvenile Justice System
Juvenile Justice Information Exchange – June 5, 2011
The Public Welfare Foundation offers a grant to support efforts to ensure fundamental rights and opportunities for people in need. The organization focuses on two programs, one of which is in criminal and juvenile justice. The goal of this grant is to help change the justice system.

Shelby County's juvenile detention totals may lure Annie E. Casey Foundation
Memphis Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN – June 3, 2011
Gone are the days in Memphis of tossing any unruly kid in jail until officials figured out what to do next. So far this year, the average daily number of minors held in detention is 38, compared to 89 nine years ago, said Rick Powell, who oversees the detention center. That reduction is a key reason Shelby County may earn a coveted designation as a site of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the multibillion-dollar organization that supports reform of juvenile justice systems across the nation.

Peer Jury Gives First Time Juvenile Offenders a Second Chance, Western Springs, IL – June 1, 2011
Since October of 1997, first time juvenile offenders in Western Springs have been given a second chance through the police department’s  Juvenile Peer Jury, an alternative to juvenile court. “The Peer Jury provides a diversion for first time offenders from entering the Juvenile Justice System by recognizing that their behavior can potentially be corrected through balanced and restorative justice,” explains Sergeant John Piest, who oversees the Jury.

Advocates Eye Missouri Model as Md. Juvenile Justice Solution
Southern Maryland Online, Baltimore, MD – May 30, 2011
Ask some Maryland leaders interested in juvenile justice what they think of the state's system, and they say it's not working. Ask them how they'd reform it, and many point to the model used in Missouri. In Missouri, less than 10 percent of delinquents return to the Division of Youth Services within three years after release from a treatment facility. In Maryland, 56 percent are rearrested within three years.

Foster Care

Local Woman Awarded Foster Care Recognition, Peabody, MA – June 2, 2011
When Brandi Ditch relocated to the area 10 years ago she knew she wanted to help change lives. What she didn’t know was how much her experience would change her own in the process. Ditch, 32, now a Peabody resident, was named Foster Parent of the Year for 2010 by the Salem branch of the state Department of Children and Family Services this month, as well as a Foster Parent All Star by the Boston branch of the same organization – two unexpected honors for someone who says she just wants to help make a difference.

Michigan Senate bill would require proof of imminent risk for child to go to foster care
The Washington Independent, Lansing, MI – June 1, 2011
Police could remove children from their parents only if they face an imminent risk of serious harm or with a court order, according to a bill under consideration in the state Senate. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge), was inspired by a 2008 incident in which a seven-year-old boy was placed in foster care by authorities after his father, Christopher Ratte of Ann Arbor, mistakenly bought an alcoholic lemonade for him at a Tiger’s game in Detroit.

Judge orders California to boost foster payments
San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco, CA – June 1, 2011
A federal judge has ordered California to increase payment rates immediately to thousands of foster parents, noting that it has been more than 2 1/2 years since he ruled that the state's reimbursement levels failed to cover the costs of raising a child. State officials "have now had a full and fair opportunity to come into compliance with federal law. They have not done so," U.S. District Judge William Alsup of San Francisco said Friday.

Teen Pregnancy

Facts of life improve in Highlands County‎
Tampa Bay Online, Sebring, FL – June 5, 2011
Debra Caruso knows what every parent learns: Talking to kids influences their behaviors. It's the same with diabetics and the mothers of infant children, and Caruso has the statistics to prove it. She is the Healthy Start coordinator at Highlands County Health Department, educator in the Wellness and Diabetes program, and pregnancy prevention overseer. 

Some teens wait on sex‎
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, Fort Wayne, IN – June 5, 2011
Josh King, a sophomore at Ivy Tech Community College, says he doesn’t think people take sex seriously enough. The fifth- and sixth-grade boys Josh King works with can get a little girl-crazy. “I tell them, ‘Slow your roll, guys. They’re gonna be there for the rest of your lives,’ ” says King, 19. King works with the students through Fellowship Missionary Church in Fort Wayne, and he remembers what he was like when he was that age. “I liked girls, but I was still playing with action figures,” he says.

Teen birth rate hits all-time low in South Carolina
The Times and Democrat, Columbia, SC – June 4, 2011
After experiencing an increase in teen birth rates from 2005 to 2007, it seems this pattern is now reversing. The Department of Health and Environmental Control has reported a decrease in South Carolina's teen birth rate for 2009. According to statistics, the 15- to 19-year-old teen birth rate in South Carolina decreased by 7.5 percent between 2008 and 2009, which correlates to the lowest teen birth rate for this age group in the state's history - 49.0 births per 1,000 females 15 to 19 years old.

Pregnancy prevention funds saved
Montrose Daily Press, Montrose, CO – June 2, 2011
Montrose County can continue using Medicaid dollars to combat teen pregnancy and dropout rates, after Rep. Don Coram resisted efforts by House leadership to effectively kill SB 177. The efforts paid off in the form of bipartisan support, and Gov. John Hickenlooper will be in town June 8 to sign SB 177.