Top Headlines 4/21

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Child Welfare

North Dakota needs a child welfare ombudsman, among other things, writes activist John Ford in an op-ed that appeared in the Bismarck Tribune.

Dana Rudolph of Keen News Service reports on a memo from Bryan Samuels, the top child welfare person for the Obama administration, urging states to ensure that gay youth in foster care are protected and supported.

The Texas Tribune scored a win for foster youth with a story about the lag time between them aging out and receiving their own records, reports the Tribune’s Aziza Musa.

Education/Jobs

Newspapers in two different states took an interest in Minnesota’s effort to prevent high school dropouts from getting or keeping their driver’s license. The Austin Daily Herald ran this Associated Press reports from Minnesota, and Sara Lenz of Utah’s Deseret News reported directly on the concept.

Although the DREAM Act has failed to pass on the federal level, hundreds rallied at the Illinois Capital to support the Illinois DREAM Act that would give undocumented college students access to identification and financial aid, reports Holly Dillemuth with the Illinois Times.

Juvenile Justice

Adam Liptak and Lisa Fay Petak of the New York Times report on sentencing juveniles to life without parole for homicides, a practice that is being legally challenged in a number of states.

Casey Grove of the Anchorage Daily News reports on a tough case involving a high schooler arrested for making terroristic threats in the form of a threatening rap verse. The boy mailed the verse, which references Columbine, to several people, but police say he also may have written it as part of therapy encouraged by a counselor.

A juvenile accused of a high-profile killing in Florida was released two weeks before the killing after an arrest for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, reports Stan Zimmerman of Sarasota Patch. The teen was screened by a juvenile assessment center after the first arrest, and the center decided not to detain him.

Miscellaneous

When it comes to after-school programs in New York City, Rachel Monahan of the New York Daily News reports, supply and demand are going in opposite directions. The city needs 12,000 more spots, and the 2011 budget cuts 15,000 of them.