Top Headlines 8/15

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Child Welfare

David Klepper of the Associated Press reports on Rhode Island’s use of out-of-state placements for foster youths, some of whom get placed as far away as Nebraska or Tennessee. The number of Rhodey youths sent to different states has dropped to a current total of 53, down from about 200 a few years ago, but the practice remains at the center of a lawsuit filed against the state by a former foster youth.

Florida’s family-serving agencies are trying to figure out how to pay for a boarding school for at-risk youth, reports Ana Valdes of the Palm Beach Post. The school was mandated by Florida lawmakers this year, and is intended to focus on college preparatory work.

A negative review by his employees is among the reasons for the departure of Clark County (Nev.) Family Services welfare boss Tom Morton, a longtime consultant and expert on child welfare reform. Morton has received credit for moving the needle on some necessary changes in the state system since he announced his resignation (effective this Friday), but has also been described as being unenthusiastic about the job and difficult to solicit information from.

Education/Jobs

Vocational schools are the key to bridging a notable gap in California, opines Dan Walters in the San Francisco Examiner: The one between unemployed potential workers and the employers who need staff but can’t find people trained enough to hire.

The Las Vegas Review Journal derides Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) for proposing to include an influx of Workforce Investment Act funds as part of the effort to address the deficit. Murray is on the new committee tasked with developing a plan after Congress narrowly passed a deal on the debt ceiling.

The U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit gave the Obama Administration another opening to join litigation against for-profit colleges when it reinstated a lawsuit against major for-profit Corinthian Colleges, reports Doug Lederman of Inside Higher Ed.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Brian Bowling reports that Pennsylvania will likely miss out on the lawsuit against another major for-profit – Education Management Corp., which is based in the state – because Pennsylvania does not have a state version of the False Claims Act.

Juvenile Justice

The revelation in Kentucky that more than 2,000 criminal charges were filed against children age 10 or younger during the past five years has got the attention of state lawmakers, reports Valarie Honeycutt Spears of the Herald-Leader.

Florida is still trying to figure out who paid for the high amount of anti-psychotic medications that have flowed to youths in the custody of its juvenile justice system, reports Michael Laforgia of the Palm Beach Post. The biggest question that remains unanswered is whether Medicaid money paid for drugs that were prescribed to incarcerated juveniles, which would go against federal rules on the use of Medicaid for inmates.

Scott MacDonald, the chief probation officer in Santa Cruz County, Calif., uses the op-ed space of the Santa Cruz Sentinel to explain his agency’s reaction to a juvenile who should have been detained and was not. The county has been lauded by reformers for being fair and rational about its use of detention for accused juveniles. 
Tennessee averted the loss of $5 million in federal funds by complying with the Adam Walsh Act, reports Brian Haas of The Tennessean, and it did so without exposing juvenile offenders to a public sex offender registry.

Despite the national attention paid to the Luzerne County, Pa., juvenile court scandal, writes the Times-Leader editorial board says it has yet to prompt any real reform or change in the state.