Top Headlines 12/8

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Child Welfare

After a D.C. City Council meeting about welfare benefits and the increasing role of government in the lives of children in the city, columnist Jonetta Rose Barras asks, “Whatever happened to family preservation?”

A viral effort to draw attention to child abuse and child violence appears to have had some effect in the United States, reports T.J. Dimacali of GMANews.tv. The campaign urged Facebook users to switch their profile pictures to their favorite cartoon, and in doing so mention that it was to raise awareness of child abuse. Web searches for child abuse information were up, Dimacali reported, and there is some indication that the campaign triggered an uptick in small-amount donations to child abuse charities.

In a new webinar series put on by the Office of Women’s Health at the Department of Health and Human Services, psychologist Valerie Edwards will discuss what is known about the impact of trauma on girls and how that knowledge should direct policy and practice.

Education/Jobs

Alan Bonsteel, president of California Parents for Educational Choice, writes this column in the Los Angeles Daily News saying the California Department of Education’s latest dropout figures fail to account for the many Californians who drop out in middle school.

Both the House and Senate are said to be voting today on the DREAM Act, but as Devin Dwyer of ABC News reports, passage is unlikely in the Senate, where even one of the bill’s original co-sponsors – Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) is opposing passage until Congress deals with what he sees as more pressing business.

This evening marks the start of a three-day research conference on college and workforce readiness in Crystal City, Va. More information on the conference, hosted by Education Testing Service; the College Board; and the American Educational Research Association, is available here.

Washington Post-owned Kaplan Higher Education – one of the for-profit institutions under fire for suspect practices of late – announced in this news release yesterday it will eliminate 770 employees, or about 5 percent of its staff, due to declining enrollment.

Juvenile Justice

Shutting down the state juvenile justice system is a lousy idea, says the Arizona Daily Star.editorial board. A legislative review panel agrees; it voted 6-1 to fund the agency for the next five years.

The Oklahoma Attorney General’s office has launched an investigation into the contract awarded to a Nevada company to build and operate the state’s new juvenile facility. Failed bidders have alleged that Rite of Passage’s lobbyist and a state senator, involved in an affair, rigged the bid process, and that Rite of Passage ignored a key aspect of the Request for Proposals: the inclusion of maximum-security beds.

The proposed facility would be similar to the company’s academy in Colorado, which has won the admiration of many juvenile justice advocates for its campus-like atmosphere and focus on development.

The New York Post reporter Laura Italiano covered a press conference at which New York City prosecutors used a high-profile gun bust to highlight a grim statistic in the city: 25 percent of New York gun-possession defendants are under the age of 18.

Miscellaneous

The Boston-based New Balance Foundation made a substantial contribution yesterday to the development of a kids cooking magazine that is aimed at promoting healthy eating and activity options. ChopChop Magazine will receive $1.1 million from the foundation, and the magazine’s leadership will add New Balance Vice President Christine Madigan to its board.