There will be no Top Headlines on Friday Jan. 31st because the YT offices will be closed.
Jennifer Jacobs of the Des Moines Register spends time at Iowa’s new centralized intake unit, which since September has handled all of the Department of Human Service’s initial decision-making on whether the agency will investigate abuse or neglect claims. The central unit was created to save money, but DHS officials are hopeful it will also establish more consistency; before, intake work was done by 99 different county offices.
One of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist’s lasts acts in office was to appoint Alan Abramowitz to serve as executive director of the Statewide Guardian At Litem Program, which Florida funds to oversee a network of advocates and practitioners that will represent the interests of abused and neglected children. Abramowitz has been a key player in the reform of Florida’s child welfare system most recently as Crist’s head of family safety at the Department of Children and Families.
In Orange County, Fla., network WFTV reports that DCF officials are concerned about the growing number of child abuse claims involving Four Loko, the alcoholic energy drink. Four Loko manufacturer Phusion Products removed caffeine from the product in November in anticipation of an FDA ban on caffeinated alcoholic beverages.
Omaha World-Herald’s Martha Stoddard reports that state lawmakers are not likely to attempt any legislative reversal of Gov. Dave Heineman’s (R) ongoing privatization of child welfare in Nebraska. But a number of legislators tell Stoddard they fully intend to play a role in oversight.
Yesterday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Aileen Dodd reports on an emerging option for cash-strapped startup charter schools: set up shop at churches.
An article in today’s Lansing State Journal looks at the potential impact of a new Michigan law that raises the curriculum requirements for students to receive a high school diploma. Reporter Kathleen Lavey’s story points out that students with disabilities are especially at risk to not meet the new standards.
The increased enrollment in Texas community colleges, reported in this Austin American-Statesman piece, is nothing new, as states across the country are reporting similar increases. But Ralph K.M. Haurwitz’s story looks at the challenges for community colleges associated with meeting this new demand, including combating the notion that four-year universities are a better option and competing for funding at a time of serious state budget cutbacks.
The Winston-Salem Journal editorial staff urged Gov. Bev Perdue (D) to move the juvenile justice system into the state’s Department of Health and Human Services. Perdue wants to cut down on the number of state departments to save cash, and the initial plan is to move juvenile justice into a Department of Public Safety.
In this press release from the nonprofit MENTOR, there is word that President Obama signed off on a third year-long extension for the federal pilot program that provides national background checks for potential volunteers and employees working at youth-serving organizations.
Frank Donze of the Times-Picayune reports on a warehouse fire in New Orleans that claimed the lives of eight transient youths and young adults on Tuesday. The city fined the building’s owner in 2007 for code violations, but never took more corrective action; Mayor Mitch Landrieu said at a news conference that the victims were “just kind of hanging out because they either want to, or they’re running from a difficult situation.”