Postadoption Services: A Bulletin for Professionals
National Adoption Information Clearinghouse (NAIC)
All adopted children and their families can benefit from services provided after an adoption is finalized, says this bulletin. It also says the benefits of post-adoptive services can boost the recruitment and retention of adoptive families, help prevent the disruption or dissolution of existing adoptions and therefore reduce the number of foster children awaiting placement.
The publication addresses how post-adoption educational, informational, clinical, material and support services can help, and discusses which services families may need. It also examines what services are offered by different states, and how those services are delivered, funded and evaluated. NAIC is a program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Free. 14 pages. (703) 352-3488, http://naic.acf.hhs.gov/pubs/f_postadoptbulletin/f_postadoptbulletin.pdf.
Reframing Education: The Partnership Strategy and Public Schools
Youth Development Institute of the Fund for the City of New York (FCNY)
Since 2002, the New Century High Schools Initiative has created 78 small, autonomous schools out of large, underperforming New York City public high schools. The initiative partners New Century schools with community-based organizations such as museums, universities and youth development organizations.
This report documents and analyzes several of those partnerships and highlights best practices, challenges and achievements.
FCNY is a private operating foundation launched by the Ford Foundation in 1968. Its Youth Development Institute works in New York City and beyond to build youth development policies, programs and practices. Free. 114 pages. (212) 925-6675, www.newvisions.org/schools/downloads/hirotalores.pdf.
The Time is Now: Implementing One System for New York City’s Emerging Workforce
New York City Young Adult Task Force
In a collaborative effort to deal with an estimated 200,000 young adults (ages 16 to 24) in New York City who are disconnected from the mainstream – not attending high school and ill-prepared for jobs or higher education – this report calls for a dramatic expansion of community-based programs for unemployed youth. The Task Force – a coalition of 25 public and private groups that includes foundations, corporations, grassroots groups and city agencies – calls for an investment of $100 million over the next five to seven years to:
• Prepare 50,000 out-of-school young adults for entry-level jobs leading to career paths and long-term economic self-sufficiency.
• Quadruple job-training services in neighborhoods.
• Raise program quality and implementation standards for all community/neighborhood-based young adult programs.
• Establish a citywide coordinating model aligned with existing resources. Free. 24 pages. (617) 965-6469, www.nyec.org/NYC-TF%20rept_fnl.pdf.
The Policy Environment for Faith-Based Social Services in the United States: What has Changed Since 2002? Results of a 50-State Study
The Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy
Over the past two years, states have continued efforts to expand their partnership opportunities with faith-based service organizations. But several obstacles appear to restrain significant growth in social services provided by religious organizations, according to the nonpartisan Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy.
Since 2003, it says, 27 states have passed legislation regarding faith-based organizations (FBOs), ranging from laws enhancing FBO/government relationships to those ensuring FBOs are represented on state boards and oversight bodies. Almost two-thirds of the country’s state governments now designate a specific liaison to the faith community.
Factors impeding FBO efforts include lack of a mechanism to identify groups as faith-based, lack of state funding guidelines specific to FBOs, and confusion about the rights of publicly funded groups to use religion as a hiring criteria. Free. 52 pages. (518) 443-5014, www.religionandsocialpolicy.org/docs/policy/State_Scan_2005_report.pdf.
Parents’ Impressions of Neighborhood Safety Linked to Children’s Weight
University of Michigan Health System
Children whose parents believe their neighborhood is unsafe are more likely to be overweight than children whose parents perceive their neighborhood as safe, according to this study published in the January issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
Data collected from 768 children and families in 10 regions of the country revealed that when perceived safety levels were divided into four “quartiles,” 17 percent of children living in the neighborhoods perceived as least safe by their parents were overweight. That compares with 10 percent of the children in the second quartile, 13 percent in the third quartile and only 4 percent in the fourth quartile, which was perceived as the safest. Those findings held true even when the researchers controlled for the educational levels and marital status of the children’s mothers, the children’s racial and ethnic backgrounds, and their participation in after-school activities. Free online from the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. (734) 764-2220, http://archpedi.ama-assn.org.
Youth Curfews Continue to Show Promise
The National League of Cities (NLC)
City officials continue to believe that decades-old youth curfew laws are an effective strategy for deterring juvenile crime and violence and continue to implement and enforce those laws, according to this NLC survey of mayors and other officials from 436 central, suburban and rural cities.
More than half of the cities surveyed had curfew laws in place. In those cities, 96 percent of officials said curfew laws were “very or somewhat effective,” and 93 percent said curfew enforcement was “still a good use of police officers’ time.” Two-thirds of the cities with curfews enacted them in the past 20 years, and 38 percent enacted them within the past 10 years.
Several research studies have shown that youth curfew laws, particularly nighttime curfews, are ineffective deterrents to juvenile crime. Available online. (202) 626-3000, www.nlc.org/Newsroom/Press_Room/7831.cfm.
Where to Now? Innovative Housing Options for Homeless Young Adults Leaving TLPs
New England Network (NEN)
“Aftercare” housing programs are designed to build competence in former foster youth leaving transitional living programs (TLPs) and to teach them skills to live on their own. They also prevent young people from becoming homeless – which happens at least temporarily to an estimated 750,000 to 2 million young adults (ages 18 to 24) each year, according to this report.
NEN reviews research on aftercare services and shares a series of interviews with the directors of five New England aftercare agencies and an expert in the housing field on their commitment to developing innovative aftercare programs. NEN is a not-for-profit training and research organization. Free. 30 pages. (802) 658-9182, www.nenetwork.org/publications/where-to-now-report.pdf.
Impossible Choices: How States are Addressing the Federal Failure to Fully Fund Afterschool Programs
The Afterschool Alliance
Researchers looking at state grant-making under the four-year-old federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CLC) initiative found that 25 states made no new grants to afterschool programs in 2005.
State education agencies typically committed their initial CLC funds to three- to five-year grants, and have been using their annual federal allotments to sustain those grants. But those commitments – and a federal freeze on CLC funding – prevent most states from awarding new grants, according to the report.
A 2004 study by the nonprofit Afterschool Alliance found that 14.3 million children are unsupervised in the afternoons. The most recent CLC data indicate that 1 million children and youth benefit from CLC afterschool programs. Available free online. (202) 347-2030, www.afterschoolalliance.org/documents/Impossible_choices.pdf.
Making a Difference in the Lives of Youth
National Collaboration for Youth (NCY)
This compendium presents lessons learned from 10 youth development programs offered during out-of-school hours at locations throughout the country. The programs profiled include Across Ages, Families and Schools Together, Project Learn and Will Power/Won’t Power.
Each case study examines a program’s key and unique components, research design and outcome measures, and includes individual stories and quotes from youth, parents, staff and researchers. The final section outlines recommendations for enhancing program evaluations of youth organizations.
The project was funded by a grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. Available free online. (202) 347-2080, www.nassembly.org/nydic/programming/newideas/MakingaDifferenceintheLivesofYouth.htm.
Positive Youth Development: State Strategies
The Forum for Youth Investment/National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)
A product of the Forum’s two-year Strengthening Youth Policy initiative with NCSL, this report is the first in a series that aims to help state policymakers. It calls for a shift toward policies and programs crafted on the basis of positive development goals, rather than risk factors and deficits.
The report also recognizes several commonalities of successful state youth development approaches, including a focus on youth strengths and assets; an increase in program quality and supply; comprehensive, coordinated and aligned efforts across department and committee lines; and an emphasis on youth perspectives when crafting policies and programs.
To find out more about strengthening youth policy in your state, contact: Stephanie Walton, NCSL (303) 856-1552, or Elizabeth Gaines, Forum for Youth Investment, (202) 207-3714. Free. 16 pages. www.forumfyi.org/Files//strengtheningyouthpolicy.pdf.