Top Headlines 12/13

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Child Welfare

On December 15, 2010, the American Bar Association will host a free web-based training for attorneys who represent clients appealing child welfare cases. Appellate Training For Parents' Attorneys in Child Welfare Cases: Tips for Attorneys Filing and Writing Appeals will provide tips for appellate attorneys that parents have hired to work on child welfare cases. The training will describe how to file an appeal and discuss common occurrences that may arise during the appeal-including constitutional issues and incorrect rulings on pre-trial motions.

Florida’s Department of Children and Families is developing a proposal to extend foster care services until age 21, reports Janine Zeitlin of the Fort Myers News-Press. The agency would have to gain the approval of incoming Gov. Rick Scott (R) before shopping the plan to the legislature.

The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act, passed in 2008 offers states a federal match for extending foster care to 21. Only California has extended to 21 since the law was passed, and the Department of Health and Human Services has to be excited that another state with a huge youth population might join California.

Dave Collins of the Associated Press profiles Joette Katz, the Connecticut supreme court justice who is giving up her seat on the bench to run the state’s child welfare system. Katz has yet to be formally confirmed for the job, but has already vowed to get Connecticut out of federal oversight in the next four years.

Nebraska’s child welfare privatization is moving full steam ahead, reports Omaha World’s Martha Stoddard. Meanwhile, Gov. Dave Heineman informed two members of the state’s foster care review board that they will not be reappointed to new terms in January. The review board has been critical of Heineman’s insistence on moving forward with privatization at a point when it is struggling with the contracts for private providers.

Education/Jobs

The Washington Post’s Daniel de Vise profiles Towson University and its strategies to achieve equal graduation rates for whites, blacks and Hispanics.  

And anyone curious about the intricate, closed-door details of the DREAM Act’s journey through the lame-duck session can find it from The Hill’s Mike Lillis here. The bill, which passed the House last Thursday and was tabled by the Senate the next morning, might get squeezed in for a last-second vote just before the 111th Congress officially adjourns some time this month.

Sam Dillon of the New York Times reports that Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.), the new chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor, will likely see eye-to-eye with Education Secretary Arne Duncan on some major changes to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The two may clash over President Obama's Race to the Top initiative, Dillon writes. 

While much has been made of the disproportionate amount of government student loans going to the for-profit college sector compared to public and private colleges and universities, ProPublica’s Sharona Coutts looks at for-profit colleges’ collection of Post 9/11 G.I. Bill funding. Coutts posts a list of the 500 schools receiving the most tuition money from this bill – many of which are for-profit schools.

From Youth Today: Nancy Lewis reports on Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D-Iowa) concerns over the services provided to returning veterans by for-profit colleges.

Juvenile Justice

Ernie Allen, CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, told Scripps Howard reporter Isaac Wolf that states should get more time to implement the Adam Walsh Act before they face cuts to federal funds from the Justice Department. As is, states will lose 10 percent of a Justice block grant if they do not comply by July, although Justice appears to have found a way around that already.

The case against Contra Costa County juvenile justice worker Thomas Jewell is getting uglier by the day. Contra Costa Times reporters Robert Salonga and Sandy Kleffman reported over the weekend on a potential second molestation victim of Jewell, who was originally arrested for child pornography charges. Jewell was a therapist with the county’s youth offender treatment program at the juvenile hall.

Lynn Arditi of the Providence Journal reported over the weekend on truants who have been punished with a night at the state training school for acting out in truancy court proceedings or for missing school. The truancy court, which was established in Rhode Island by former chief juvenile judge Jeremiah Jeremiah; he and other officials who started the diversion program are involved in a class-action lawsuit with the American Civil Liberties Union over the way the court operates. 

Shut the doors already at all of these near-empty juvenile facilities, the New York Times editorial board tells Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo.

Miscellaneous

Something to discuss with youths and young adults: A number of credit card companies have begun heavy recruiting of new card holders after three years of sluggish profit and plummeting credit scores, reports the New York Times’s Eric Dash. It will likely be harder to get approved, Dash reports, but the offers are being made to riskier borrowers again. 

Elaine Wilson of Infozine reports that the Department of Defense will work with 13 states to increase the quality and availability of community child care services for members of the armed services.