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 . . . 

Weekly Roundup

Long road to rehabilitation: Maharashtra juvenile justice system cuts pendency, but challenges remain, Firstpost

Maharashtra has reduced the pendency of cases before its juvenile justice boards (JJBs) by one-third in the past few years, but a lot remains to be done in the system when it comes to rehabilitation[.]

The National Conference on Juvenile Justice Promotes Solutions to Ensure Effective Juvenile Justice Systems Across the Country, Nevada Business

More than 400 of the top leaders, judges and court professionals of juvenile justice reform gathered in Las Vegas, Nev. on March 21-23 for the National Conference on Juvenile Justice hosted by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ).

Probing The Complexities Of Transgender Mental Health, NPR

[A] study published this month . . . looked at the mental health of 73 transgender children between ages 3 and 12. [The] group [of children] did not experience any more depression, and had only slightly more anxiety, than their siblings and nontransgender peers.

Why are our kids so miserable?, Quartz

“Something in modern life is undermining mental health[.]” . . . Specifically, something is undermining young people’s mental health, especially girls.

More Sophisticated Transition Planning Needed for Foster Youth with Complex Needs, The Chronicle of Social Change

Youth who age out of foster care face obstacles like homelessness, unemployment and poverty.

Think about how much harder it is for young people with complex needs like a chronic illness or an intellectual disability. Youth with complex needs require extra support when they exit the foster care system at age 18 or 21, depending on the state, but there is too often little or no support.

The Untold Stories Of Black Girls, NPR

Recent research has documented that black girls are punished at school at rates that are even more disproportionate than those experienced by black boys.

The ‘Silent Epidemic’ of Child Trauma, The Chronicle of Social Change

Last week [Pia Escudero, director of the School Mental Health Unit at the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)], presented on her work with FOCUS at Echo Parenting and Education’s conference on creating trauma-informed schools. 

Exercise May Help Young People With Severe Mental Health Disorders, Huffington Post

 For young adults who have experienced severe mental health disorders, exercise may help reduce the severity of their symptoms, a new, small study suggests.

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Poisoned Children in Flint, Michigan

Jake May | AP Photo

Beyoncé, celebrity singer, recently announced her financial support towards the Flint Child Health and Development Fund, bringing more attention to the the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. The poisonous water issue came to light in fall of 2015, when researchers concluded the tap water residents were drinking was causing elevated lead levels in children’s blood. Since 2013, Flint had changed their water source. Instead of getting the city’s drinking water from Lake Huron, the city treated water from the Flint river. The lead originated from the corrosive treated water as it leached from the pipes and soldering.

State and federal government failed to address the water crisis in time. The Flint population is concerned that the test results of unfiltered tap water remain high. Although residents have received filters to remove that level of lead, officials maintain that children under 6 and pregnant women should only use and drink bottled water.

About 8,000 children under 6 may have been exposed to the poisoned water, which may have caused irreparable damage to their developing brains and nervous systems. The research indicating a link between lead levels and learning disabilities, violent behavior, attention problem and motor coordination is alarming. Young children under 6 are particularly vulnerable since they are still developing.

Many residents and advocates have expressed their anger towards the government, while also bringing up the racial prejudice and the difficult economic background of Flint residents. Would this have happened if the city was primarly composed of middle class white americans? Flint Mayor Karen Weaver said it would cost $1.5 billion to repair the city’s water infrastructure, and too expensive to switch back to Lake Huron water. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder finally declared a state of emergency and summoned the National Guard to distribute clean water.

Legal routes include an investigation to determine whether the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality violated the Safe Drinking Water Act by not treating the Flint Water with an anti-corrosive agent. Additionally, the ACLU intend to sue state and city officials for “fail[ing| to cure their noncompliance with the (Safe Drinking Water Act) within 60 days.” There could even be criminal allegations towards lawmakes for negligence and indifference.

With the state emergency money and some charitable funds, Dr. Hanna-Attisha hopes they can seize this opportunity to create a new public health program with psychiatrists, nutritionists and child development experts. She was at the forefront of documenting the blood lead levels in children and is getting together resources to assist with these children’s learning and medical problems.

Our government will have to provide the adequate care and services to help the children in Flint, but also work to prevent this life altering crisis from happening again.