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Child Welfare

Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje of the San Antonio Express-News reports on the study of Texas foster care by nonprofit Texas Appleseed. The group suggested that Texas had good laws on the books about what children deserve from the court, but that the requirements of those laws weren’t consistently executed.

Education/Jobs

A couple that owned an Illinois vocational hair design school have paid the federal government nearly $5 million to settle a civil case filed by the U.S. Department of Education alleging the couple was issuing bogus transcripts and diplomas to students who received federal financial aid without actually taking classes. The Elgin Courier News (Ill.) has more here.

Reyna Gobel of the San Francisco Chronicle provides a nice tutorial on the student loan process, outlining the differences between university payment plans and federal student loans.  

High school dropout guru Robert Balfanz, who received the coveted i3 grant from the Department of Education last summer to expand his Diplomas Now school reform partnership with City Year and Communities in Schools, is already seeing results at one South Carolina high school that only implemented Diplomas Now five months ago, as reported by The State’s (S.C.) John Monk.

The Associated Press describes the current national status of the charter school movement, including the fact that 4 percent of public school students are currently enrolled at charter schools but this figure is likely to rise as more than a dozen states relaxed charter restrictions over the last year.

We are only two weeks away from the annual conference of the National Association of Workforce Boards, which convenes in Washington, D.C. from Feb. 5-8. Register here.

Juvenile Justice

Starting this month, California juveniles who are released to parole from adult facilities will be provided services from their county’s adult probation office, reports Brian Indrelunas of MyDesert.com. Previously, the state’s juvenile justice agency was responsible for overseeing parole for juveniles coming out of adult lock-up.

Joanna Nolasco of the Seattle Times reports on a legislative attempt to make school administrators disclose names of students who are sex offenders to parents, staff and older students. Teachers are already apprised of sex offenders under current Washington law. 

Miscellaneous

Marc Lacey, Kevin Sack and A.G. Sulzberger of the New York Times use Arizona as a focal point for their feature story on the ever-shrinking mental health safety net. One national organization estimates that $2.1 billion in mental health services has been cut by states since fiscal 2007.

Another New York Times story on state budgets, by Mary Williams Walsh, reports on the notion of states filing for bankruptcy or something akin to it. That avenue, which is currently unavailable to states, could provide short-term ability to restructure but also impair the state’s ability to borrow in the future.

The 2011 National Gang Symposium, entitled Progress Through Partnerships, will take place June 7–10 in Orlando, Fla. The symposium is sponsored by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and the National Gang Center.