Wednesday, December 26, 2012

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Teens learning to make difference
The Advocate, Washington, D.C. – December 25, 2012
Civics and U.S. history students at Mentorship Academy have spent months studying and delivering action plans aimed at solving high school dropout rates, poverty and homelessness in their communities.  They plan to deliver their message of civic and social responsibility to state and national leaders while they attend the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21.

In Fixing Schools, Bay Area City Looks to Harlem Model
New American Media, Hayward, CA – December 24, 2012
Gerardo Ramirez wants to be a forensic crime scene investigator. An avid fan of TV dramas like Criminal Minds and CSI, the 16-year-old is bussed every day from Tennyson High School in Hayward, Calif. to a regional occupation program (ROP), where he studies criminal justice in exchange for high school credit.

Juvenile Justice

Durbin chairs first hearing on school to prison pipeline
Daily Herald, Illinois – December 12, 2012
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin Wednesday chaired the first federal hearing looking at the relationship between schools and the criminal justice system. The hearing follows a recent change in Illinois law prompted by an attack on an Elgin teacher and subsequent Daily Herald investigation.

Juvenile Justice Changes On Tap
Peach Pundit, Georgia – December 20, 2012
During the 2012 Session of the Georgia General Assembly, laws were changed to relax sentences on some crimes to help deal with Georgia’s growing prison population and save the related expenses of incarcerating so many of our fellow citizens.  Key to the debate was not only the direct costs to the state, but the indirect costs of lost future income of those with felonies on their “permanent record”, leaving them with fewer if any stable job opportunities – and opportunities to pay taxes – after their prison sentence ended.

Foster Care

Grace of Giving: Kids in foster care get assistance with life skills
My San Antonio, Texas – December 23, 2012
As children in foster care grow older and closer to independent living, options for their future often are uncertain.  “Essentially, an 18- or 19-year-old is a child,” said Mary Fuentes Valdez, vice president and secretary of Youth Transitioning Into Adulthood, an organization that provides life-skills training to teens and young adults in foster care. “We realized there's a big need for bridging the gap for youth leaving foster care,” she said.

Dana’s House nearing independent living program for older youth
Suttgart Daily Leader, DeWitt, AK – December 20, 2012
Dana’s House is nearing its goal for an independent living program for those who age out of foster care.  Administrator Jennifer Poston said the non-profit shelter is in the process of purchasing the former Westside Elementary School, which is about a block from Dana’s House in DeWitt. The purchase is set to close at the beginning of 2013.

Teen Pregnancy

Partial funding restored, county program aims to aid more teens
Ventura County Star, California – December 25, 2012
After Michell Manriquez gave birth to her daughter at 16, there were plenty of times she wanted to drop out of Hueneme High School.  But thanks to a state program for pregnant and parenting teens, the Oxnard resident graduated with her class in 2011, and she now plans to attend college.

Gaston County opens teen wellness center
Charlotte Observer, Gastonia, NC – Decmeber 24, 2012
She’s a sexually active 16-year-old looking for birth control advice.  He’s a high school football player in need of a quick sports physical.  Another student needs a round of immunizations.  All these young people could wind up at the new Teen Wellness Center at the Gaston County Health Department.  It’s a place teens can come with almost any kind of medical problem – with or without their parents or guardians.

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