Top Headlines for 12/14

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Child Welfare

A Congressional hearing to discuss the potential for new legislation aimed at toughening the child abuse reporting process included proposals to deny federal funds to states that fail to enact stronger child-abuse reporting laws, reports Richard Simon of the Los Angeles Times.

Patricia Wen of the Boston Globe reports from the Children’s Mental Health Summit, held in Boston on Monday, which included a lot of talk about the child welfare issue du jour; use of psychotropic medications with foster children.

Education/Jobs

Just when low-income parents have to work longer hours to make ends meet, reports Sabrina Tavernise of the New York Times, they are losing access to the thing they need most to stay on the job: a government subsidy that helps pay for child care. The subsidy, which is a mix of federal and state funds, has been spread thin by inflation, increased demand and budget cuts.

Juvenile Justice

The Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission report on Illinois’ shoddy efforts at releasing, transitioning out and revoking the parole of incarcerated juveniles garnered a fair amount of attention. Some headlines:

From Carla Johnson of Associated Press focused on the workers involved in the parole process, who have high caseloads and little in the way of formal training.

Kerry Lester of the Daily Herald focused on the commission’s criticism of the system’s abysmal case management infrastructure. She quotes commission director George Timberlake: “There’s great advantage in screening and assessment for kids’ needs. That understanding, that diagnosis, developed as soon as the kid arrives, means there’s a continuity between what happens inside and outside.”

Youth Today’s story provided an overview of the four main problems with the parole system identified in the report; what the commission proposes to do; and the potential for philanthropic involvement in making some of these changes.

The report focused on the state’s juvenile prisons. Meanwhile, reports Susan Sarkauskas of the Daily Herald, two counties came to an agreement amidst some last-minute opposition that will shutter a juvenile detention center.

Oregon has agreed to stop holding juvenile offenders who are convicted as adults in adult facilities, reports Les Zaitz of the Oregonian. Oregon has transferred juveniles serve the early years of their sentence in juvenile facilities, but it was holding some in adult jail during the processing period and often would segregate them for 23 hours or mix them in with the adult population.