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Child Welfare

The Maine Law Review posted a provocative paper online last week from, Matthew Fraidin, a professor with the David A. Clarke School of Law at the University of the District of Columbia and a visiting professor at the Georgetown University Law Center.

In the paper, Fraidin makes the argument that confidentiality laws in child welfare have helped fuel a master narrative that “depicts foster care as a haven for child-victims savagely brutalized by deviant, monstrous parents.”

A mother who sought help on the popular afternoon show “Dr. Phil” now faces charges of child abuse, reports the CBS News website. Jessica Beagley allowed Dr. Phil to air clips of her punishing her adopted son by making him hold hot sauce in his mouth, and also by making him take a cold shower.

Education/Jobs

Thomas D. Elias of the Redwood Times (Calif.) discusses California's dropout crisis, opining that it should be treated as a bigger problem than the state’s budget woes, and that state dropout figures undercount the true nature of the problem because they don’t account for middle school dropouts.

In Illinois, the Rockford Register Star’s Sean F. Driscoll reports that a Workforce Investment Board has ended a training contract with a local youth program five months early due to several deficiencies reported on the youth workforce training program’s management, including understaffing and late paperwork submission.

Andrew Sum, director of Northeastern University’s Center for Labor Market Studies, and Paul Harrington, who directs the Center for Labor Markets and Policy at Drexel University, both play presidential speechwriters in this Huffington Post column, calling for increased investment in youth employment opportunities.

Juvenile Justice

The “Scared Straight” approach of taking youths to visit adult prisons for a glimpse of what criminal lifestyles can lead to has drawn much attention because of A&E’s new reality series “Beyond Scared Straight.” [Click here for Youth Today’s story on the show and the strategy].

A cold-case murder in New Jersey from 1982 ended with the confession of Angelo Speziale last April (read Kibret Markos’ article on North Jersey.com). Speziale was one of the teens involved in the first “Scared Straight!” documentary back in 1978, and told producers for a 1998 follow-up that the program had turned his life around.

Ryan Schill of the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange suggests in this piece that Speziale could become the poster child for “scared straight” critics, some of whom have called on A&E to pull the show.  

Providence Journal’s Lynn Arditi reported late last week that Rhode Island’s version of “scared straight” has been suspended. In Rhode Island, youth as young as eight were brought to the state’s juvenile training school to hear from young inmates about how crimes they committed had affected their lives. 

Within this short piece on South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) and her nominee to head corrections, the Associated Press reports that Haley is proposing to fold the state’s juvenile justice operations into adult corrections. Her nominee, Bill Byars, led the juvenile justice agency for years.

On June 7–9, 2011, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Global Youth Justice and the National African American Drug Policy Coalition will hold the first Global Youth Justice Training in 2011: Establish or Enhance a Youth Court/Teen Court.