Top Headlines 12/15

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Child Welfare

A Texas foster care panel, made up of public and private stakeholders, has submitted their plans for a redesign of the state system, reports Alana Rocha of News 8 Austin.

From Youth Today: A bill that would reauthorize several laws pertaining to child abuse and domestic violence has passed both houses and awaits the signature of President Obama.

Education/Jobs

Holly Hounds of WSAV, a local NBC affiliate for Savannah and coastal Georgia, reports the Jasper County Boys and Girls Club received a $23,000 donation from the local police department, most of which came from a drug bust.

An Associate Press-Stanford University poll shows most people blame poor college graduation rates on students and parents, mostly giving college administrators and other school employees a pass. AP education writer Eric Gorski reports on the findings here.

Facing a $28 million budget deficit, California Governor-elect Jerry Brown (D) announced he will be forced to make cuts to education, even with California’s high school graduation numbers on the decline in recent years. The Los Angeles Examiner’s Amanda Getchel has the coverage.       

The Boston Globe’s Patricia Wen has a new angle on the teen unemployment situation. This piece looks at teens receiving disability benefits who will not look for jobs to avoid losing their government subsidies.

With President Barack Obama signing the Healthy and Hunger-Free Kids Act into law Monday, the White House has released a fact sheet on the bill and a before-and-after school meal menu. Eddie Gehman Kohan of the White House food initiatives blog Obama Foodorama has a breakdown here.

Juvenile Justice

Randeep Ramesh of the British newspaper The Guardian sits down with Clay Yeager, who has spent his career pushing for early intervention strategies for juvenile offenders in the United States.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention has published this 24-page overview of research and programs related to gang prevention, written by James “Buddy” Howell.

The federal lawsuit filed last week against an Ohio juvenile justice facility said youths were forced to work without pay at four companies near the facility. The Associate Press reports on the companies’ not-so-inspiring answer: there’s no proof, and we have no knowledge of it.

From Youth Today: Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) has merged his Youth PROMISE Act with Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) Gang Abatement Act. The new bill may pass the Senate today, and many juvenile justice advocates are still trying to decide whether to support it.

Miscellaneous

President Barack Obama signed an executive order yesterday that creates the White House Council for Community Solutions, which will be housed at the Corporation for National and Community Service. The council will, according to the White House statement, “provide advice to the President on the best ways to mobilize citizens, nonprofits, businesses and government to work more effectively together to solve specific community needs.”

Among the inaugural council members: former Gates Foundation CEO Patty Stonesifer, former George W. Bush advisor John Bridgeland, Public Allies CEO Paul Schmitz, Independent Sector CEO Diana Aviv and Goodwill Industries CEO Jim Gibbons.

Sarah Netter of ABC News reports on the fact that, despite all of the attention now around childhood obesity and nutrition, a dwindling number of students have regular physical education classes during school. In many cases, Netter reports, they are allowed to opt for other activities instead.

This should be interesting: A Tea-Party style group called the “Children’s Movement,” headed by former Miami Herald Publisher David Lawrence, aimed at increasing Florida’s investment in kids.

More youths report smoking marijuana than cigarettes every month, according to the annual Monitoring the Future survey produced by the University of Michigan. The long run of downward trend in cigarette smoking is over though, the report shows.