Press Watch for November 2002

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Lost Children: A Look at Kids, Mental Illness
The Spokesman-Review

A weeklong series in the Spokane, Wash., daily looks at families struggling to grab any resources they can to help their mentally ill children stay in school and out of trouble with the law. Stories profile children and the efforts of adults to help them.
Sept. 28.

Proposal to Collect DNA From Kids Opposed
The Miami Hearld

The beleaguered Florida Department of Children and Families wants to collect DNA samples (with cheek swabs) from all 45,000 children in state custody, hoping to improve its efforts to identify missing children. But the plan has drawn stern objections from a bioethics team at the University of Miami. Oct. 1., search for “DNA registry.” Fee.

Boys’ Case is Used in Bid to Limit Trials of Minors as Adults
The New York Times

The September trial of Alex and Derek King, ages 13 and 14, for murdering their father galvanized youth advocates, parents and ministers around the country to fight for state laws making it harder to prosecute juveniles in adult courts. Oct. 6., search for “minors as adults.” Fee.

Development Experts Say Children Suffer From Lack of Unstructured Fun
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A three-part series examines what child development experts call an alarming “lack of time and interest devoted to unstructured child’s play in modern American culture.” They say unstructured play is vital for the development of children’s creativity, intellect and social skills. Oct. 1., search for “unstructured play.”

As Murders Drop, Muralists Move On
The New York Times

The Tats Cru spent much of the 1990s spraying graffiti throughout the Bronx, specializing in murals honoring local people who’d been murdered. With murders down and the crew members older, the Tats Cru has evolved into a case study of taggers-gone-legit, as they specialize in commercial jobs like painting vans, nightclub bathrooms and college dorm walls. “What started out as a guerrilla operation … is now a successful corporation that members say brings in from $250,000 to $400,000 a year.” Oct. 8., search for “tats cru.” Fee.

Day-Care Costs Rival College
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Day care advocates are suggesting college-style financing – grants, subsidies and loans – to help parents cover day care costs. The U.S. Department of Education has given one day care association a $350,000 grant to study the idea. Oct. 13., search for “college-style financing.”

Top Court Refuses Case Of State Dad
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

David Oakley can’t have any more kids – by order of a Wisconsin Court. In a case that raises questions about the right to procreate, the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear Oakley’s appeal of the order that bars him from having more children until he shows that he can financially support all of them. Oakley, the father of nine children with four women, owes at least $25,000 in unpaid child support. Oct. 7., search for “Oakley.”

Compiled from news reports, the Casey Joutnalism Center for Children and Families, and Connect for Kids.