Top Headlines 11/24

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***There will be no 'Top Headlines' Thursday 11/25 or Friday 11/26 as Youth Today staff celebrate Thanksgiving and recover from turkey comas***

 

Child Welfare

Oregonian reporter Michelle Cole and Register-Guard reporter Jack Moran cover the internal report released yesterday by the Oregon Department of Human Services, which reommends the state conduct a deep investigation into abuse reports at foster homes, and the creation of specialized teams that would ensure abuse claims from foster homes were investigated properly. Click here for Moran’ story, and here for Cole’s.

On Monday, child welfare director Erinn Kelley-Siel essentially tipped the findings to  the Register-Guard’s Mark Baker in this story from Monday. In it, Baker quotes a safety report that suggests that a dwindling number of foster parents may have made the agency more indifferent to rooting out bad ones. 

The Connecticut Commission on Child Protection is a tiny part of the state government, but it drew the ire of budget hawks this year when it went more over budget than any other office, reports the Hartford Courant’s Josh Kovner. The commission trains and pays lawyers who represent parents and children in abuse/neglect cases, and nearly doubled its hourly wage for lawyers in 2008, when it had a budget that was $1 million higher.

Illinois is removing children from two nursing home facilities it pays to serve disabled youth, and nonprofit watchdog Equip for Equality will investigate the circumstance of numerous deaths at one of the facilities, reports the Chicago Tribune’s Sam Roe and Jared S. Hopkins. The newspaper’s recent feature story alerted both the state and Equip for Equality to the problems at Alden Village North and Alden Village Health Facility.

Sioux City Journal reporter Dolly Butz reports on hopes for a better partnership between Iowa’s child welfare system and the state’s Native American communities. 

Education/Jobs

Michael Saltsman, who researches public policies issues surrounding entry level employment, writes this column for the Los Angeles Daily News this morning saying teens looking for winter break job opportunities are going to have few opportunities. One reason, Saltsman cites, is the 40 percent increase in federal minimum wage over the last few years, which one study found priced more than 114,000 teens out of a job.

With the House of Representatives set to vote on the DREAM Act on Monday, Fox News Latino’s Elizabeth Llorente reports undocumented students across the country are staging hunger strikes to support DREAM’s passage, which would give them a path to citizenship. DREAM Act supporters are making one final push in the 111th Congress before Republicans take over the House in January.

This new Pew Research Center study by Rebecca Hinze-Pifer and Richard Fry, The Rise of College Student Borrowing, shows more college students are borrowing, college students are borrowing more money and that more college students are attending for-profit schools, where borrowing levels are at their highest.

Juvenile Justice

Barbara Hoberock of the Tulsa World reports on Oklahoma’s long-awaited announcement that it will build new juvenile facilities to replace the L.E. Rader Center, Oklahoma’s maximum-security juvenile facility, which has been under federal oversight for a few years now. Oklahoma will now opt for more beds, but less maximum security ones: it will build a new 144-bed facility in Ada, and add a 56-bed max-security wing to an existing juvenile complex in Tecumseh.

The 144-bed facility will be operated by Rite of Passage, a Nevada-based company. In this article from August, Oklahoman reporter Julie Bisbee said Oklahoma juvenile justice director Gene Christian went “on his own dime” to visit Rite of Passage’s operation in Colorado. 

Eric Holder announced the 18 people he has picked to serve as the first Office of Justice Programs Science Advisory Board. The list includes some notable names from juvenile justice research, such as Peabody Research Institute Director Mark Lipsey; Edward Mulvey, director of law and psychiatry research at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; and David Weisburd, director of George Mason’s Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy, which recently conducted a Congressional briefing on juvenile justice.

RiShawn Biddle, who produces the website Dropout Nation, wrote this column about the need for greater educational attention and investment in juvenile offenders.