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Foster Recruits Waited 16 Months to Be Licensed
The Dallas Morning News
In the midst of a dire need for new foster and adoptive parents to help care for the approximately 20,000 children in the Texas state child welfare system on an average day, bureaucratic snafus and lost paperwork sometimes keep eager recruits from being assigned a child for months. In the case of Ben and Carol Stroud, it took 16 months to complete the training and licensing that private child placement agencies say they can do in three months. "We didn’t know how much more we could take," said Carol Stroud, who at one point considered ending the process over the depression and frustration that it caused. Oct. 1, www.dallasnews.com.
Parents Searching for Help Often Lose Kids
The Patriot Ledger (Quincy, Mass.)
Parents and schools nationwide are increasingly turning to the courts to get help for behaviorally troubled youth. In Massachusetts, more than 9,300 Children in Need of Services (CHINS) applications were filed between June 2006 and June 2007, a 12 percent increase over 2002. The cases aren’t heard by a judge, but are typically managed by probation officers, who obtain services that help keep many youths out of court. Child advocates say CHINS has become the only way for many parents to get mental health, substance abuse and other services for their severely troubled kids – typically chronic truants and runaways who defiantly break rules at home and school. Oct. 6, http://ledger.southofboston.com.
Teens to Parents: It’s Our Facebook
Since Facebook – the online social network originally designed for college-age and younger youth – was opened to the general public in September 2006, the number of active users over the age of 35 has grown to 3.6 million. Many teens resent the breakdown in the social barrier between youth and adults. While Facebook allows users to keep parts of their profiles private, some teens resent the fact that their parents have access to Facebook and their specific pages. One networking group to which youth can belong is called "At Least MY Mom Isn’t on Facebook!" Oct. 4, www.usatoday.com.
Car Insurers’ Devices Track Teen Drivers
The Denver Post/The Associated Press
When 17-year-old Anna Kinderman hits the brakes too hard or squeals around a turn, she says "Sorry, Dad," even though she’s alone in the car. She says it to the camera mounted on the rear-view window, the video from which will be reviewed by her parents later that day.
Hoping to reduce the number of accidents involving inexperienced teen drivers, several auto insurance companies offer in-car cameras or global-positioning systems to help parents monitor their children’s driving behavior. Teen drivers report mixed feelings about the technology; one in 20 admitted covering the camera after its installation. Oct. 10, www.denverpost.com.
‘Cheese’ Flowing into Area Suburbs
The Dallas Morning News
Middle-class suburban 14- to 20-year-olds in Dallas are "ordering up" more and more "cheese" – a cheap, cleverly marketed form of tan-colored heroin, typically sold in affordable $2 "bumps." According to Dallas school officials, students have been found hiding small packets of the drug under the tongues of tennis shoes, in bras, inside markers and in the battery compartments of cell phones. One high school warned teachers to be on the lookout for the words "cheese," "cheez," "chz," "queso" or "keso" in cell phone text messages. Dealers often mix the drug with Tylenol PM to relieve typical symptoms of use, such as a runny nose, and make it snortable. Sept. 30, www.dallasnews.com.
Fresh Bread, Fresh Start for Ex-Gang Members
The Christian Science Monitor
At Homeboy Industries’ new location in Los Angeles, former gang rivals work side by side. The spacious new center houses a bakery and a training and job development center and offers tattoo removal, counseling, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and classes in financial literacy, computer basics and anger management. Experts say the facility illustrates the growing acceptance of redirecting gang-involved youth by providing them with jobs, training and youth development services – an idea that met with skepticism when introduced by Homeboy’s founder, Father Gregory Boyle, who saw gang membership as a social problem rather than a crime issue. Oct. 9, www.csmonitor.com.