By Mary Tess Driver
Teen Girls on Business: Are They Being Empowered?
The Committee of 200 and Simmons College School of Management
This study, based on a survey of more than 5,000 middle and high school students, explores teen girls’ perspectives on business careers. Researchers found that fewer than 10 percent of teen girls expect to have a career in business. Only 9 percent of girls (compared with 15 percent of boys) list business-related fields as their first career choice. The low interest is partly a problem of perception, as only 20 percent of girls believe that business is honest and ethical. The study also showed that minority girls held more favorable impressions of business. 20 pages. Free online. Committee of 200, 625 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611. (312) 751-3477, www.c200.org/external/TopLine_final.pdf.
Uninvited Guests: Teens in New York City Foster Care
Center for an Urban Future
The fall 2002 edition of Child Welfare Watch is a double issue devoted to the rising proportion of teens dominating the city’s foster care system. Just under one-third of New York’s foster care wards are 14 or older. The report reviews the problems of teens aging out of foster care and the disproportionate demands they make on social services.
The Watch’s six-year survey of the child welfare system shows that the number of children admitted to foster care is at a seven-year low, and some city initiatives have significantly increased the number of youth who remain in their communities or with relatives. However, the number of youth discharged from the system decreased and the number of finalized adoptions is also at a seven-year low. 35 pages. Center for an Urban Future, 120 Wall St., 20th Floor, New York, NY 10005. (212) 479-3345,
Keeping the Trust: Confidence in Charitable Organizations in an Age of Scrutiny
Youth-related charitable organizations continue to garner the most confidence among donors in America, according to a report whose overall findings seem to defy the implication of its title. Despite the intense scrutiny and frequent criticism of Sept. 11-related charities, 71 percent of donors expressed confidence in them. Confidence in charities overall dropped from 73 percent to 64 percent. Almost 80 percent of Americans view youth development and recreational organizations as honest and ethical. Five pages. Free. Independent Sector, 1200 18th St. NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20036. (202) 467-6100, www.independentsector.org/PDFs/trust.pdf.
Study of Fathers’ Involvement in Permanency Planning and Child Welfare Casework
The Urban Institute
This report discusses the various issues surrounding noncustodial fathers and their place with children in the child welfare system. The study finds that the percent of children living in two-parent families has decreased from 77 to 68 in the past 20 years. Researchers also found that children in the United States with noncustodial fathers who were born outside of marriage were less likely to have child support orders in place and more likely to be economically deprived compared with the children of divorce. 23 pages. Free online. Urban Institute, 2100 M St. NW, Washington, DC 20037. (202) 833-7200, http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/CW-dads02.
Multiple Choices After School: Findings From the Extended-Service Schools Initiative
This report assesses an initiative of the Wallace-Readers Digest Fund, begun five years before the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, which helped to create 60 after-school programs in 20 communities. Among the findings: Older youth were harder to attract than younger; the ability of youth workers to communicate is a more significant variable for success than program content; and costs were alleviated by help from school districts, but sustainable funding remained difficult to secure. 84 pages. $8.50. Public/Private Ventures, 2000 Market St., Suite 600, Philadelphia, PA 19103. (215) 557-4400, www.ppv.org/indexfiles/yd-index.html.
New York’s After School Choice: The Prime Time for Juvenile Crime or Youth Enrichment and Achievement
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids
This study discusses the need for activities for youth during after-school hours in light of the finding that on school days, the majority of youth crime in New York occurs between 3 and 6 p.m. The authors suggest that after-school programs can “transform the prime time for juvenile crime into golden hours of academic enrichment.” The study includes examples of successful programs and concludes with a call to action from the state’s law enforcement leaders. Free online. Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, 2000 P St. NW, Suite 240, Washington, DC 20036. (202) 776-0027, www.fightcrime.org/ny/afterschool.php.
Children of Immigrants: A Statistical Profile
National Center for Children in Poverty
The 2000 Census showed that one out of every four children who has at least one immigrant parent is poor. First-generation immigrant children are more likely to be poor than those of later generations (by 35 percent to 17 percent). First-generation immigrant children are also more likely to live in single-parent homes and have parents with little education who work full-time. Six pages. Free online. National Center for Children in Poverty, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, 154 Haven Ave., New York, NY 10032. (212) 304-7100. www.nccp.org.
Grading Grown-Ups 2002
Adapting a concept used in the Uhlich Report Card for the past three years, the Search Institute asked youth to critique America’s adults. Unlike Uhlich, this report card also polls adults to see where they think they rate. The results are interesting. In many cases, adults are harder on themselves than youth are. While only 68 percent of adults think they and their contemporaries encourage school success, 79 percent of youth think adults do so. Fifty-seven percent of adults say they teach respect for cultural differences, but 67 percent of youth think the adults around them do so. 12 pages. Free. Search Institute, 615 First Ave. NE, Suite 125, Minneapolis, MN 55413. (612) 399-0218, www.search-institute.org.
Public Alternative Schools and Programs for Students at Risk of Education Failure: 2000-2001
National Center for Educational Statistics
Based on a survey of public alternative schools and programs for youth at risk of “educational failure,” this report examines the availability of alternative programs in schools, levels of education at which these programs were offered and the numbers of youth enrolled. The survey also shows the reasons students are transferred to alternative programs and the criteria that determine when to return them to regular schools. 92 pages. Free online. National Center for Educational Statistics, 1990 K St. NW, Washington, DC 20006. (202) 502-7300, http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2002004.
The Report Card on American Education
American Legislative Exchange Council
The report card measures student achievement and examines the resources that each state dedicates to education. One key finding is that there is no “direct evident connection between conventional measures of educational inputs and educational outputs.” More charter schools, for instance, don’t necessarily mean higher overall test scores. The study found that 74 percent of all public school eighth-graders performed below proficiency level on the National Assessment of Educational Progress math exam. The report includes state rankings, average standardized test scores, expenditures and demographics to provide insight into why certain states might fare better than others. 133 pages. Free online. American Legislative Exchange Council, 1129 20th St. NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20036. (202) 466-3800, www.alec.org/meSWFiles/pdf/Education_Report_card.pdf.
Adolescent Substance Abuse: A Public Health Priority
Physician Leadership on National Drug Policy
This report, compiled by a group of leading physicians, looks at data about and public perception of substance abuse among youth. Among the key findings: More than 90 percent of adults with substance use disorders started using before age 18, and half began using before age 15. Use of Ecstasy increased among youth in all grade levels in 2001. White eighth-, 10th- and 12th-grade students reported “substantially” higher rates of substance use than their black counterparts. 72 pages. Free online. Physician Leadership on National Drug Policy, Brown University, Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, Box G-BH, Providence, RI 02912. (401) 444-1817, http://center.butler.brown.edu/plndp/.
Engaging Youth in Lifelong Service
Backed by a survey of more than 4,000 adults, the report correlates youth volunteer experiences to a greater propensity to volunteer and contribute to charitable causes more often. More than two-thirds of adults who volunteered as youths say they continue to do so, while only one-third of adults who did not volunteer as youths say they do it now. Early volunteer experience had a stronger tie to charitable giving among adults in lower income brackets, although those in higher income brackets who volunteered as youths gave greater amounts on average than others on equal income plateaus. Further research in the report indicates that present youth volunteer levels bode well for the future: The high school volunteerism rate of 67 percent is a 50-year high. Researchers allowed respondents to define “volunteering” for themselves, including any work done to fill school or judicial requirements. 40 pages. $19.95. Independent Sector, 1200 18th St. NW, Washington, DC 20036. (202) 467-6100, www.independentsector.org.
Building a Better Teenager: A Summary of “What Works” in Adolescent Development
This research brief, drawing on results from seven lengthier reports on adolescent development, asserts a domino-effect theory on youth development. Just as behaviors such as drug use can lead to further risky behaviors, the report says, single positive character developments tend to spark (or at least correlate to) other positive developments. The best way for youth service providers to ensure the latter path is to develop programs with targeted outcomes that reach youth as early as possible. The “key” to adolescent well-being is positive relationships, the report says. Six pages. Free. Child Trends, 4301 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 100, Washington, DC 20008. (202) 362-5580, http://www.childtrends.org/PDF/K7Brief.pdf.