Weekly Round Up (November 7, 2019)

A new Trump administration rule could hurt LGBTQ youth in foster care

Foster care agencies could soon turn away prospective foster parents because they are gay or trans, thanks to a rule proposed by the Trump administration on Friday.

The rule would remove language protecting LGBTQ people and others from discrimination in programs funded by grants from the Department of Health and Human Services, according to the Washington Post.

The change would apply to a wide range of programs, including those aimed at HIV prevention and treatment for opioid addiction and other substance abuse. But advocates say it appears targeted at the child welfare system, where it could have devastating effects, including keeping children from finding homes and even funneling them into the prison system.

Read more here . . . 

 

Genesis, 9, draws her family in Matamoros, while her tía watches them from Brownsville, Texas.  I want to leave from here because I can't be happy and I can't sleep,  she writes. She believes there are crocodiles in the Rio Grande river, where many asylum-seekers bathe and wash their clothes.‘They’re Screaming for Help.’ See Drawings From Children Stuck in Mexico as They Seek U.S. Asylum

“America, where they didn’t let me in,” writes 11-year-old Jose from Honduras in Spanish next to a picture of mountains and trees on a canvas in blue, green and brown colors. He also drew a river — the Rio Grande that separates him from Brownsville, Texas, where his family hopes to claim asylum. “La tierra prometida,” he writes. “The promised land.”

Jose is one of at least 1,450 migrants who are living in a tent encampment on the streets of Matamoros, a city in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, as a result of the Trump Administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy. Dozens of children in Matamoros drew their experiences as part of an art project, photos of which were provided exclusively to TIME by Dr. Belinda Arriaga, an associate professor at the University of San Francisco who specializes in child trauma and Latino mental health. She traveled to Matamoros Oct. 19-25 as part of a group of volunteers who provided aid and psychological care to migrant children and their families.

Read more here . . . 

 

No More ‘At-Risk’ Students in California

A decades-long effort to change how educators talk about students facing economic or social challenges has been backed by California lawmakers.

bill to remove references to “at-risk youth” and replace the term with “at-promise youth” in California’s Education Code and Penal Code was approved by California governor Gavin Newsom in mid-October. The California Education Code is a collection of laws primarily applying to public K-12 schools. The bill does not change the definition of “at risk,” it merely replaces it with “at promise.”

 “For far too long, the stigmatizing label of ‘at risk’ has been used to describe youth living in difficult situations,” said Assembly member Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer Sr., lead author of the bill, in an address to the California State Assembly earlier this year.

Raising the Age in Michigan

Starting October 2021, 18 will be the minimum age in Michigan for prosecutions in the adult criminal court system.  Michigan now joins the strong majority of states who set their minimum age at 18 years old. The bipartisan bill passed both the house and the senate before being signed by Governor Whitmore (D).  The bill’s sponsors were clear: “Why are we calling them a child for child support services, but an adult for criminal purposes? Kinda doesn’t make sense,” said Republican Senator Peter Lucido (R-Shelby Township) .  His Democratic cohort agreed and pointed out the the money was better spent in education and wraparound services to help in prevention: “That’s the forefront of what we need to do is educate individuals, not lock them up and throw away the key.”

Earlier this year, Louisiana implemented their 2016 policy of keeping 17 year olds accused of non-violent crimes in youth system.  “17-year-olds are children. We define them as children in almost every other way in the law, and I think most parents would tell you their 17-year-olds are definitely still kids,” Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights policy director Rachel Gassert said. “They aren’t allowed to vote, buy cigarettes, or enlist in the military. We draw the line at 18 for so many other things that it doesn’t make sense for them to be automatically treated as adults in the justice system.”

To learn more about each state’s age limits and other critical components regarding their systems, visit https://njdc.info/practice-policy-resources/state-profiles/

Weekly Roundup (September 26, 2019)

Grown-up solutions to combat child poverty

Some communities refuse to just sit back and watch tens of thousands of children grow up in poverty — a circumstance that makes them more likely to face diminished educational and job prospects, violence, incarceration and a host of health problems that shorten life expectancy by a decade.

In southwestern Pennsylvania, numerous nonprofit organizations, foundations, government agencies, schools, businesses and individuals are working to combat the effects — and in some cases the causes — of child poverty. But:

  • We have no unified plan, goal or leadership on the issue.
  • There is no single place to go to find out who is doing what to address the problem.
  • Many measures with track records for getting kids out of poverty, or reducing its bite, have not yet been tried here.

Read more . . . 

 

Juvenile arrests in Oklahoma decline

A group of local youth gathered inside a community center Tuesday night in south Oklahoma City, where Oklahoma City police Staff Sgt. Tony Escobar and other adult mentors led them in a discussion about leadership.

Earlier in the night, Escobar dished out slices of pizza. Now, he helped the students as they split into small groups, tasked with identifying positive traits and weaknesses of famous leaders.

At the end of the exercise, Taylor Wood, volunteer coordinator, challenged the students to decide what kind of leader they want to be.

“Everything that you do, you can be a leader,” she told them. “You don’t have to be a leader that the whole world knows about. You don’t even have to get credit for being a leader, but you can be a leader in every situation. At home, among your friends, at school, if you play sports. No matter what you do, you have an opportunity to be a leader.”  Read more . . .

 

Suzann Stewart: Family Safety Center is moving the needle on intimate partner violence, sexual assault and accountability

I keep a top 10 list on my computer at the Family Safety Center. It’s not the top 10 in good things … but the bad things like access to health care, high incidences of adverse childhood experiences scores in children and adults, intimate partner and family violence, education rates, high incarceration rates etc.

Seems morbid, but it’s motivational for me with the staff and agency partners who perform above and beyond daily in our work to improve the lives and health of our most vulnerable family members and friends. It reminds me that every day our partnership is making a huge difference in changing the bad effects of those statistics for the better.

Tulsa does have a top 10 nationally recognized change agent in this partnership model of co-located multidisciplinary agencies, with three trend-changing programs moving the needle: to mitigate and eradicate family and intimate partner violence, identify and more effectively treat victims of multiple traumas and hold offenders accountable for their abuse.  Read more . . .