Monday, February 18, 2013

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Schools looks to fix problems causing dropouts
Sun Herald, Vicksburg, MS – February 17, 2013
At the time, dropping out of Vicksburg Junior High School seemed like the only decision for Sengrid Griffin.  Now 44, the Vicksburg native said she went back and forth between suspensions, truancy and eventually, just quit.  Today, the Vicksburg Warren School District is making strides to address the problems of dropouts. Griffin said she wishes school districts placed more emphasis on identifying potential dropouts and helping - whether it be through tutoring or therapy.

Panel passes bill to increase dropout age to 18
Lexington Herald-Leader, Frankfort, KY – February 12, 2013
Kentucky teenagers would no longer be able to drop out of high school at 16 under a bill that passed a House committee on Tuesday.  State Rep. Jeff Greer, D-Brandenburg, said the measure would save money, offsetting the costs of keeping possible dropouts in school. He said more Kentuckians with high school diplomas will lessen the number of people on public assistance and in prison.

Graduation Rates Up 6.5% in Dearborn Public Schools
Dearborn Patch, Dearborn, MI – February 15, 2013
Four-year graduation rates in Dearborn Public Schools rose 6.5 percent in 2012 from the previous year, according to statistics released this week by the State of Michigan's Center for Educational Performance and Information.  The results in Dearborn followed statewide trends showing an increase in four-year graduates.

Juvenile Justice

Bobby Jindal proposes juvenile justice system changes, early release for repeat drug offenders
The Times Picayune, Baton Rouge, LA – February 15, 2013
Gov. Bobby Jindal announced a series of legislative proposals Friday to the state's criminal justice system. Two of the three bills aim to overhaul certain aspects of the state's juvenile justice system. The third would expand the state's drug rehabilitation program and allow some non-violent repeat drug offenders eligible for early release.

Leaders keeping eye on juvenile justice reform bill
Dawson News, Dawsonville, GA – February 13, 2013
After tackling criminal justice last year in the legislature, state leaders now are turning their focus toward the juvenile system.  "This bill covers not only the criminal aspect of juvenile court, but the whole juvenile code," said Judge Cliff Jolliff.  Key components of the bill include giving more discretion to juvenile judges in sentencing, as opposed to the mandatory minimum sentences on the books, and alternatives to incarceration, such as drug and mental health rehabilitation programs.

Foster Care

A way back for Missouri teens who opt out of foster care?
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis, MO – February 18, 2013
When she turned 17, Mynecia Taylor had mapped out her life.  First, she would leave foster care early. It would free her to live life her way without the obstacles and rules that she felt were holding her back.  A year later, like an estimated 20 percent of kids who leave foster care at 18 or younger, the soon-to-be Roosevelt senior class president was homeless. The night after her 18th birthday, she slept in an apartment building stairwell.

Teen Pregnancy

Study shows drop in teen pregnancy rates throughout state
The Selma Times-Journal, Alabama – February 15, 2013
According to the Alabama Department of Health, the percent of births to teenage mothers in Alabama has decreased by 32 percent in the past 10 years, and by 58 percent since its peak in 1973. The significant drop in teen pregnancy is one the department is calling one of the major public health success stories in the last 20 years.

Teens are still having sex, but at least they're having fewer babies
MSN Now – February 18, 2013
Good news, American parents — your teenage daughters are having way fewer babies. Like, record-setting levels of not having babies. A new government report found that the teen birth rate in the U.S. dropped 8 percent from 2010 to 2011, part of a trend that has dropped an impressive 49 percent since 1991, with the most recent numbers showing a record-low 31.3 births per 1,000 girls aged 15-19.

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