Monday, July 25, 2011

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


School Dropout Rates Adds To Fiscal Burden
NPR – July 24, 2011
Nearly 1 million kids who start high school every year don't make it to graduation. At a time when federal and state budgets are tight, dropouts costs taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars in lost revenue, health care, welfare and incarceration costs.

Beating the Odds: High School ‘Dropouts’ Earn Diploma At East LA Program Facing Big Cuts
EGP News, East Los Angeles, CA – July 21, 2011
While the 2011 season for pomp and circumstance has already wrapped up at Los Angeles area schools, not until last week did nearly three-dozen students at an East Los Angeles-based academy finally received their diplomas. It was a privilege they thought they forfeited when they dropped out of high school, and one which may not be available to as many students in the future due to federal funding cuts. Twenty-one-year-old Luz Avila struggled in high school. She attended Garfield High School, Garfield Adult school, another program, and then Cesar Chavez Continuation, but on July 14, she received her high school diploma through LA CAUSA YouthBuild, a non-profit organization and charter school she says allowed her to experience high school, go to grad night, volunteer; everything “without the drama,”

Encouraged in the face of adversity
Los Angeles Times, East Los Angeles, CA – July 20, 2011
Teen moms, gang members and dropouts trade bleak futures for the hope of a better life at Ramona High. For Genesis Diaz, a struggling young mother, graduating at the top of her class is only the beginning.

Juvenile Justice

Obama Administration to Fight Harsh School Discipline
Youth Today – July 21, 2011
The U.S. Justice and Education departments are making disruption of the “school to prison” pipeline – which can begin with minor school infractions and can end in a lifetime of poverty – a new government objective. Calling removal from school “inappropriate forms” of punishment, Holder was joined this morning by Duncan at a meeting of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to announce the effort.  “When our young people are locked up, we are condemning them to poverty,” Duncan told the group.

Juveniles in Custody Dropped 12 Percent, New Report Says
Juvenile Justice Information Exchange – July 18, 2011
A new report shows that nationally the total number of juvenile offenders in custody dropped by 12 percent from 2006 to 2008. The biannual census by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) surveyed juvenile residential facilities about population, size and security measures, among others.

Juvenile detention center providing much-needed services
Southeast Missourian, Charleston, MO – July 22, 2011
The Mississippi County Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Charleston, Mo., is alive and well. Although six juvenile detention centers in Missouri lost their state funding for the 2012 calendar year due to a controversial Circuit Court Budget Committee decision, our facility was not one of those that lost its funding. In fact, our juvenile detention center has played a major role in the state of Missouri. In May of this year, our circuit was selected as one of only three sites to be named a Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative Model Replication Site, and the only one in Southeast Missouri.

Foster Care

Grant will help foster youth in Forsyth County
Winston-Salem Journal, Forsyth County, PA – July 22, 2011
A $600,000 grant announced Thursday will benefit the Youth in Transition Community Initiative of Forsyth County, an initiative that serves foster youth.  The grant, awarded from the Duke Endowment, will help youths aging out of foster care with housing support, financial training and mentoring.

Young people too old for foster care get help
The Sun, Redlands, CA – July 17, 2011
When a young man showed up on DeeDee Schilt's doorstep last year offering to work for food and shelter, she knew she had to do something.  Not just for him, but for what she soon discovered were hundreds in his position: too old for foster care, which ends at 18, but not quite ready to support themselves.  Of about 425 people who "age out" of San Bernardino County's foster care system every year, about 70percent will be homeless for at least a stretch of time, she said.

Teen Pregnancy

Research Aims to Reduce Teen Pregnancy Among Latinos
The University of Texas, Austin, TX – July 19, 2011
Latina teens would benefit from expanded sexual education programs in schools and increased flexibility in education beyond high school to prevent unplanned pregnancies, according to a report by social scientists at the Population Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin.  The report, funded by the Texas Department of State Health Services, aims to help policymakers better understand why Latina teenagers are more likely to become pregnant compared with other groups.

Ninth graders to study Safer Choices for sex ed
Bluffton Today, Beaufort County, SC – July 21, 2011
The school board unanimously approves research-based curriculum for reproductive health.  For the first time, Beaufort County freshmen and sophomores will meet their state requirements for reproductive health from a program proven to help them make safer choices.

Monday, July 18, 2011

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Colleges to counteract dwindling ranks of high school graduates
The Kansas City Star, Kansas – July 12, 2011
The Columbia and Kansas City campuses of the University of Missouri again will be awash in freshmen this fall. Seeing the writing on the marker board, some area educators are looking past the freshman glut and trying to entice other sources of college fodder, including former dropouts.

5th year of high school a good idea
Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago, IL – July 8, 2011
Is four years of high school enough to prepare today’s students for the real world? On Friday, state Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago) teased a group of students at Wells High School that Gov. Quinn was about to sign legislation that would keep them in high school a year longer. Of course he was joking.  Quinn was at Wells for the ceremonial signing of three pieces of education legislation. Two of the bills require school districts to emphasize reading and math during summer school for students who are at least two grade levels behind for two consecutive years.

HATS program aims to put a lid on dropout rates
Times-News Online, Henderson County, TN – July 14, 2011
Having a caring adult work with a student one hour a week can go a long way toward keeping students in school. That’s the premise behind Helping All Teens Succeed, a new program Henderson County Public Schools has designed to address dropout prevention.

Juvenile Justice

Texas’s Progress on Juvenile Justice
The New York Times, Texas – July 9, 2011
Just four years ago, the Texas juvenile justice system was awash in allegations of brutality, neglect and sexual abuse by staff members. Thanks to leadership by Gov. Rick Perry and thoughtful, decisive action by the Legislature, a state juvenile justice system that was in chaos a few years ago is making impressive strides.

House Appropriations Committee Eliminates Most Juvenile Justice Funding
Youth Today – July 13, 2011
A spending bill that eliminates most federal funding for juvenile justice activities was approved today by the House Appropriations Committee, and is expected to receive a vote by the full House before the August recess.  The bill, approved after a four-hour mark-up session, reduces spending by $3 billion from 2011 fiscal year levels, following most of the recommendations of its subcommittee on commerce, justice and science. It passed on a voice vote.

Foster Care

YourNews: New program creates opportunities for self-sufficicency, Tennessee – July 12, 2011
Child & Family Tennessee now has programs designed to help strengthen teens on their journey to adulthood and self-sufficiency. CFT has partnered with the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative’s Opportunity Passport, the Department of Children’s Services and the Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union to create a new package of resources, collectively called Project NOW (Navigating Opportunities that Work).

Business providing bright spot as teens transition out of foster care
Delaware Online, New Castle, DE – July 8, 2011
Tucked away in an industrial park office near New Castle, Jalisa Baines and her co-workers on Friday went about their tasks of readying used books for resale. All work at Bright Spot Venture -- a new business like no other in the state. "This is the first social enterprise managed by youth in -- and aging out of -- foster care in Delaware," said its manager, Carolyn A. Gordon.

BCFS opens transition center for Abilene youth
San Antonio Business Journal, Abilene, TX – July 11, 2011
BCFS Health and Human Services has expanded operations to Abilene, Texas, and is opening the city’s first youth transition center to provide case management, counseling, housing, employment placement, educational support and life-skills services to struggling young adults.  The Abilene Transition Center expects to serve 150 youth who are either at-risk, aging out of foster care, returning home from juvenile justice institutions, or coping with other challenges, such as homelessness.

Teen Pregnancy

Grant helps young moms succeed
KAIT, Paragould, AR – July 14, 2011
A new program is reaching out to teen mothers. The School of the 21st Century in Paragould recently received a grant through the Arkansas Child Abuse and Neglect Department to start up the program, which is called T.H.R.I.V.E.  Representatives with the school say they hope to help set up these young mothers with a career, and to be the best parent that they can be.

Monday, July 11, 2011

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


CFCC concerned about school system dropout program

6WECT TV, New Hanover County, NC – July 7, 2011
House Bill 822 allowed New Hanover County Schools to pioneer a new dropout recovery program, which now has Cape Fear Community College concerned.  The Dropout Recovery Pilot Program was co-sponsored by Representative Susi Hamilton in an effort to reach the segment of students who had already separated from the school system.  NHCS would put out a request-for-proposal for an outside agency (profit or non-profit) to run a non-traditional diploma-based program for dropouts. Students would be enrolled with the school system and would no longer be labeled dropouts, thereby improving the school system's rate.

High school drop-out prevention starts early
The Westerly Sun, Rhode Island – July 5, 2011
Local school districts are working to identify and support students as young as elementary-age who may be at risk of not graduating from high school.  Westerly and Chariho Regional School District practices fall in line with recommendations made last week by Rhode Island Kids Count, a nonprofit children's policy and advocacy organization.

Valley program helps high school dropouts go to college
Action 4 News, Texas – July 7, 2011
Vanessa Flores and her mother Mary Sandoval have been through a lot together.  "I know I'm very blessed and she's a good person," said Sandoval.  During her freshman year, Vanessa contracted H-1-N-1 virus, then meningitis and her mother suffered a stroke.  "So I missed a lot of schooling and I've been in 10th grade for the past three years," said Vanessa.  Not only did Vanessa have to miss school to recover from her illnesses, but also to take care of her mother.  "She's done so much for me, and now its time for her. She needs to catch up on her schoolwork," said Sandoval.

Juvenile Justice

Keeping Kids Outside the System: Alternatives to juvenile detention are cheaper and more effective
Hawaii Reporter, Florida – July 5, 2011
Rashad never took his eyes off his mother. While his public defender questioned him, Rashad clenched and unclenched his hands, answering in staccato bursts, his large brown eyes imploring or challenging his mother, who returned his stare from the front row of the courtroom. A cheaper and more effective approach than arresting Rashad would have been referring him to Family Resources, a Pinellas County, Florida, shelter for runaway and homeless youth that also provides family counseling and an alternative respite from violent domestic disputes.

State treating some teen offenders as juveniles now and not adults
Northwest Herald, Illinois – July 5, 2011
A state law placing 17-year-olds charged with misdemeanors under the juvenile court system makes legal sense to local defense attorney Matt Haiduk.  Considering that a 17-year-old is not old enough to vote, buy cigarettes and alcohol or even agree to a plea agreement without a parent or guardian's permission, the statute needed an update.

Foster Care

Grant helps foster children stay in homes
Reporter Herald, Fort Collins, CO – July 6, 2011
The Fort Collins Housing Authority is providing the ruby red slippers that foster care youths need to find a place to call home.   For the first time, the housing authority is administering 50 federally funded housing choice vouchers with the aim of providing stable housing for youths receiving foster care. Their purpose is to reunite foster children with their families and to prevent young adults ages 18-21 who are "aging out" of the foster care system from becoming homeless.

Programs Aim At Keeping Kids In Stable Homes
OPB News, Oregon – July 7, 2011
Kids in Oregon are twice as likely as children nationwide to be placed in foster care. And child advocates say that's a problem.  Mainly because national statistics on the success of foster kids aren't good -- a quarter have been homeless at least once by age 23, and almost half have been on food stamps by the same age. In Oregon, several new programs have been set up to keep children in stable family homes.

Jasmine Winters, 18, is outgrowing foster care, but is leaving with family-like support network
The Patriot-News – July 7, 2011
She was almost 19. A senior in high school. Foster care would end.  She would have no home to go to on college breaks. No relatives to visit on Thanksgiving.  Jasmine Winters would be on her own.  Unless she could spin a new family from the broken threads of relationships in her past. She started weaving that network last year, reaching out to family and friends with help from her Dauphin County caseworkers.

Teen Pregnancy

Grant Will Aid City's Effort To Prevent Teen Pregnancy
Hartford Courant, Connecticut – July 2, 2011
Connecticut has one of the lowest rates of teen pregnancy in the country, for which all should be thankful. But the state numbers can mask the fact that in some urban areas, notably Hartford, the problem is still rampant. The city has received a five-year, $4.5 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ramp up its efforts to curb teen pregnancy. Four agencies will work together on the project.

Reducing teen pregnancy is a priority for all of us
Gaston Gazette, Gaston County, NC – July 3, 2011
One of the things you accept when you become a health director is that it’s fairly easy to get everyone to agree on problems, but getting everyone to agree on solutions is another story. Case in point—a lot of people here in my hometown know teen pregnancy is a problem, and many are passionate about finding a solution. However, opinions vary as to what approach we should take.  Lately, there has been a great deal of discussion about Gaston Youth Connected, a new teen pregnancy prevention initiative in Gaston County. I felt this would be a great opportunity to talk about our teen pregnancy issues, the role of the health department in reducing teen pregnancy, and the goals of the Gaston Youth Connected (GYC) initiative.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

This Week’s News: Youth in Transition


Invest in youth to boost economy
Tampa Bay Online, Hillsborough County, FL – June 30, 2011
As political leaders grapple with the remnants of the worst economic decline since the Great Depression, they must balance the need for fiscal austerity with the question of who will carry the weight of future economic prosperity. Currently 20 percent of America's youth are at risk of disconnection from their schools, communities and families. These 14- to 24-year-olds typically arrive at the distinction of "at risk" through separate but, too often, dangerously intertwining paths: being precariously close to or dropping out of high school, involvement with the juvenile-justice system or placement in the foster-care system.

Legend Targets High School Dropouts
Defender Network – June 30, 2011
As part of his support of education reform, John Legend will headline a Procter & Gamble Co. promotion to benefit dropout prevention. Legend has focused much of his charitable work on improving education, which he calls “a civil rights issue for our time.” He said there’s a dropout crisis in some impoverished communities, making it harder to break the cycle of poverty.

High school dropout rates on the decline
The Desert Sun, Riverside County, CA – June 29, 2011
A survey of about 360 students participating in the Riverside County Office of Education's “Come Back Kids” program — which reaches out to high school dropouts — found 71 percent were not working. One of the top reasons they came back was to get a job. If they had a job, they said they couldn't make much money. But studies show not having a high school diploma affects more than a dropout's own income.

Youth achieve financial literacy goals

Times-Standard, Humboldt County, CA
 – June 26, 2011
Through a partnership with California Connected by 25 Initiative, Humboldt County CFS designed a financial literacy program addressing the unique needs of foster youth. More than a dozen youth now have the tools to achieve financial self-sufficiency thanks to a 15-hour workshop sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services' Independent Living Skills program. The youth started the workshop learning the difference between what they need and what they want, and were asked questions about income, credit, banking and insurance.

Youth program gives teens second chance
CBS Atlanta, Brooklyn, NY – June 17, 2011
Social programs designed to take teens off the streets and put them back into classrooms are crumbling under budget cuts. Donovan Bruce dropped out of two different high schools, but today he gets paid to learn home construction. The program ensured a job and education for him while he studied to complete his high school education, which he recently did when he passed his GED. Where traditional education failed, the federally-funded YouthBuild program is succeeding for Bruce, who plans to attend college in the fall. But in the past two years, congress has cut the program's funding by more than 30 percent.

Juvenile Justice

Jefferson Parish's juvenile probation officer receives award, New Orleans, LA – July 3, 2011
Roy Juncker Jr., Jefferson Parish’s juvenile services director, presented Stephen Cabal with the Don E. Wydra Memorial Award for his extraordinary contribution to juvenile justice and delinquency prevention. Juncker said that while Cabal has been important to the reform process, this award is really a testament to his decision to choose a life of public service. Cabal’s 51 years of public service stretch beyond the field of juvenile service, though. He previously served in the military and as an officer in the New Orleans Police Department.

NAMI Manual For Police, School CIT To Help Children And Teens; 70 Percent Of Youth In Juvenile Justice System Have Mental Illness
Medical News Today – June 30, 2011
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has published a crisis intervention team (CIT) manual for families, police, schools, mental health professionals and others to build local programs to help youth with mental illness. CIT for youth programs improve responses to youth in psychiatric crisis by relying on de-escalation techniques and community partnerships that connect young people to treatment rather than to arrest and detention. A key background fact is that seventy percent of youth in the juvenile justice system have mental illness, but the U.S. Department of Justice has found that juvenile facilities do not adequately treat them.

Work beats prison
Illinois Times, Springfield, IL – June 30, 2011
While major juvenile justice reform remains a low priority for state government, the General Assembly passed legislation this year to set a standard for judges regarding how they sentence youth who have committed nonviolent crimes. Redeploy Illinois is an alternative to incarceration for troubled youth. Instead of being locked up, youth are close to family in their hometown and get another chance to make restitution for the harm they have done.

'Interrupters' Documentary Takes on Chicago Youth Violence
The Root, Chicago, IL – June 30, 2011
A new documentary chronicles the work of violence interrupters, former gang members dispatched to their old Chicago neighborhoods by an organization called CeaseFire to stop youth violence. NPR talked to Eddie Bocanegra, one of the interventionists featured in The Interrupters and a former participant in the city's violence himself, about the challenges of his work – and of being followed by a film crew while doing it.

Foster Care

Collier has foster-care home shortage; foster parents need more support, officials say
Naples Daily News, Collier County, FL – June 30, 2011
The state filed court petitions to take action for 1,455 children in Southwest Florida in 2010, to either provide in-home services or remove children. Collier County only has 43 foster-care homes for placing children who have been removed from their biological parents, and the shortage needs to be addressed, local social service officials said during a workshop Thursday. The problem is especially critical for placing teenagers, and there are no foster homes in Collier for children with medical needs, officials said.

Hooping it up for foster care
Willows Journal, Glenn County, CA – June 28, 2011
The first ever-formalized Foster Care Basketball Tournament for the Glenn County chapter of the California Youth Connection was held on Saturday morning at the Orland Recreation Center. The tournament was designed to raise money for the local CYC chapter, but also served as a celebration of foster care during June, which is "Foster Care Awareness Month", according to event co-coordinator Robin Smith. Four teams competed Saturday, but everyone won.

Teen Pregnancy

Pregnancy prevention is a better answer
Columbus Dispatch, Columbus, OH – July 3, 2011
Earlier this year, seven bills were introduced in Ohio to regulate abortion access. Hearings took on a circus atmosphere as live ultrasounds were performed, women were encouraged to triumph over their rapists and opponent witnesses were ridiculed. Recently, without public input or clamor, language to further restrict access to abortion services was sneaked into the state budget bill. Noticeably absent has been any discussion about how to prevent unintended pregnancies in the first place.

Grant Will Aid City's Effort To Prevent Teen Pregnancy
Hartford Courant, Hartford, CT – July 2, 2011
Connecticut has one of the lowest rates of teen pregnancy in the country, for which all should be thankful. But the state numbers can mask the fact that in some urban areas, notably Hartford, the problem is still rampant. Thus it is encouraging that the city has received a five-year, $4.5 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ramp up its efforts to curb teen pregnancy. Four agencies will work together on the project.

Study: Pregnant teens a community issue
Chieftain News, Pueblo City-County, CO – July 1, 2011
Community organizations need to come together to mount a unified campaign to stem the growing rate of teen pregnancy, the county’s public health director said Thursday. Dr. Christine Nevin-Woods, executive director of the Pueblo City-County Health Department, distributed a 75-page study done earlier this year to help local officials target the causes of teen pregnancies unique to the community.