Top Headlines 12/29

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Child Welfare

In a move that must have surprised some New Mexicans, their Gov.-Elect Susana Martinez (R) has selected a Texas social worker, Yolanda Berumen-Deines, to run the state agency that oversees its child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Martinez, who is currently the district attorney for the Third Judicial District of New Mexico, told Associated Press reporter Barry Massey that watching Berumen-Daines advocate for children in court inspired her to be a prosecutor.

Iowans seem to hear about a child left by the child welfare system to die in a dangerous home situation, but the general trend on child abuse in the state is good, reports the Des Moines Register’s Lee Rodd. Many see child abuse deaths as a poor barometer of system performance either way, but it’s worth noting that Iowa routinely had more than 10 youths die of child abuse before 2003 and it has only happened one year since then.

Education/Jobs

Bloomberg continues its extensive coverage of for-profit colleges, this time in the form of a 4,000-word feature on John Sperling, who helped develop and expand the University of Phoenix and is still a major player behind the scenes, making private donations to politicians and urging congressmen to de-regulate the proprietary college industry. Daniel Golden’s story is available here.

Socialist publication the New Statesman includes this column by Dartmouth College labour economist David Blanchflower, who writes the government is ignoring the growing problem of youth unemployment.

Juvenile Justice

Data from the Pathways to Desistance study does not establish a causal link between serious juvenile offending and substance use, but it does suggest a frequent connection between the two.

The study followed more than 1,300 serious juvenile offenders for seven years after their first conviction. Data collection concluded this year, so the majority of the findings have yet to be published, but the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention issued a bulletin on Pathways’ findings about substance use yesterday.

Timberly Ross of The Associated Press reports on the strange case of Lucille Kilgore, who spent 30 years volunteering for the juvenile probation office in Douglas County, Neb., and then sued them for $447,000 in back pay before she passed away this summer. A district court awarded her the money; the state appealed, and the state supreme court will hear the case on Jan. 4.

Miscellaneous

Great analysis piece by Michael Luo of the New York Times, who used data from the U.S. Census Bureau to find that the number of multifamily homes is on the rise, and the income for those homes is falling at twice the pace of the average household.  Luo uses a Florida family, with three generations living in a three-bedroom home, to tell the story.

In Monday’s Washington Post, reporter Kevin Sieff uses the case of Reston, Va. teen Landis Brewer to discuss the growing number of students who are homeless in the country, many of them on their own. Brewer came home to find his parents had disappeared without him, and soon he received an eviction notice for the apartment he used to share with them.

For organizations who are accredited by the Council on Accreditation: If you think your organization has developed a novel approach to addressing children and families, COA is taking submissions for its Innovative Practices Award. Deadline is Jan. 31.