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
NOLA.com, 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.

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