Truancy in Texas

For Diane Tran, 17, there just weren’t enough hours in the day. The Texas honor student maintained stellar grades, while holding down two jobs to help support her siblings. Everyday after school she worked at a dry cleaners and on weekends worked for a wedding consultant. With mounting fatigue from both school and work, she piled up 18 unexcused absences and eventually drew the wrath of a judge who hears truancy cases in Willis, a small community about 50 miles north of Houston. In late May, Tran was jailed overnight on a contempt of court charge for disregarding a previous warning about excessive absences.

The Complex Picture of America’s New Immigrants

With President Barack Obama’s mid-June executive order that protected certainchildren of illegal immigrants from deportation, and the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that invalidated most of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, immigration has finally been yanked onto the front burner. And with that spotlight has come some misleading shorthand: that immigrant means Latinos and illegal, and that legal immigrants, including immigrant youth, if mobilized to become citizens will vote Democratic. But immigration in the United States today is far more comprehensive than stereotypes and myths can convey, and we owe it to ourselves to understand the nuance of their politics and influence on our country, especially in an election year. There are about 40 million immigrants in the United States today, and according to the U.S. Census Bureau, that is more than at any time in U.S. history. Almost two-thirds of have arrived during the past 20 years.

Teens Get ‘JOLT’ to Succeed at San Diego’s ‘Second Chance’

SAN DIEGO - Armando Aguilar, now a lanky 20-year-old from Oceanside, Calif., needed a job, a break from the gang and drug dealing crazy life. Second Chance got him that job and it also gave him a new start, a real second chance at life. Second Chance, located deep in the heart of San Diego’s southeast corner, where some of the city’s poorest, predominantly minority neighborhoods are located, was founded in 1993 by Scott Silverman, a dynamic former multi-substance drug addict. Since its founding, Second Chance boasts that it has transitioned more than 5,000 people out of poverty to self sufficiency, including the homeless, substance abusers and folks with prison records. After first working with adults, it became apparent to Second Chance that the teenage population needed similar services.

One Panel at a Time, Changing the World with Comics Journalism

Through boldly inked outlines, soft watercolors, pull-out posters and digital canvases, a new crop of mixed media artists are breaking complex social issues into bite-sized, accessible morsels. From Damascus to Honduras, and even to New York City, these creators are mixing journalism with the comic book format to immerse and engage readers. Works of comics, or illustrated, journalism are lush, multilayered, and offer new gleanings to readers upon repeat views. They are simultaneously journalism and art in a comic book format, and they are transforming the way the public consumes information. The creators and organizations associated with this new trend are all committed to comics as a means of furthering the journalistic process.

Counselors Expect More Undocumented Students to Seek College

Only 5 percent of undocumented students who graduate from U.S. high schools go on to college, according to an oft-cited 2004 report by the Urban Institute. However, in June President Barack Obama issued an executive order halting the deportation of young undocumented immigrants. Marty Forth, senior director of teen programming for the YMCA of Greater New York’s 22 branches, now wonders if a wave of teens will be coming to counselors and social workers for the first time looking for help understanding the new rules. In the past he says these kids kept their status to themselves, now Forth said, “ I think they are going to come out asking for help. “When they come in they are like everybody else,” said Forth, “Each situation is unique.

Privatization Fails: Nebraska Tries Again to Reform Child Welfare

LINCOLN, Neb. - Foster parent Jenae VanEvery got a call around midnight one day in September 2011 asking if she could take in two sisters — ages 2 and 3 — who had been found living in filth and squalor by Lincoln, Neb. police. The children were in the custody of the non-profit group KVC, one of the private contractors the state of Nebraska had hired after deciding in 2009 to privatize its child welfare system. VanEvery agreed but said she could not pick up the chil­dren until the next afternoon.