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.

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