Sunday’s Children & the Law News Roundup

School-to-Jailhouse Pipeline Not Only in Mississippi, Juvenile Justice Exchange

“How I like to define it,” Freeman said, “is the use of policies and practices that increase the likelihood that young people become incarcerated.” That includes at-school arrests for minor behavioral incidents, as well as what he calls more indirect actions, like suspensions, expulsions or references to juvenile court or alternative schools. Such practices have grown in the last 10 to 15 years, he said. “It really started out mostly in very low income communities of color, the schools in those districts. It’s expanded pretty dramatically beyond that.” In a high-profile Delaware case in 2009, a 6-year-old was almost suspended for 45 days for having his Cub Scout knife at school. The school board intervened to cut that to three to five days. The combination of zero-tolerance school rules, themselves fueled by safety fears, and the kind of high-stakes testing required by the federal government “create some of these dynamics,” Freeman contended.

Congress Returns Briefly, But Little Work is Done, Children’s Monitor

While a select group of critical programs including IV-E Foster Care and Adoption Assistance, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are exempt from these cuts, others including IV-B part 1, Child Welfare Services, Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program, the Child Care and Development Block Grant, Head Start, and the Social Services Block Grant are not.

Study pushes early identification of kids’ mental health problems,

Spencer’s study found that more than 70 percent of the students diagnosed with mental illness and behavioral health problems by middle school had exhibited warning signs by second grade. Almost 25 percent exhibited “red flag” developmental issues during pre-kindergarten years.

Despite the vast majority of records including evidence of academic difficulties — retentions and social promotions, as well as behavioral and emotional problems — one in four children in the study sample, ages 12 to 16, had not been evaluated or declared eligible for special education services. For those who were found eligible, 95 percent still struggled academically. High rates of absenteeism, truancy and multiple suspensions were common to those students who did not receive special education services, the report says.

Shiloh Carter

About Shiloh Carter

Shiloh Carter is working as a Graduate Fellow for the Center for Children, Law, & Policy. Prior to law school, Shiloh received her bachelor degree in Communications Sciences and Disorders from the University of Texas. As an undergraduate, she worked with children with special needs. During law school, Shiloh worked as a scholar for the Center for Children, Law, & Policy and completed internships with Kids In Need of a Defense (KIND) and the Crimes Against Children Section of the Galveston County District Attorney's Office. In addition, Shiloh volunteers with Child Advocates as a court appointed special advocate and has completed four cases. She has received numerous awards for her dedication to public interest work including the Center for Children, Law, & Policy Napoleon Beazley Defender Award 2013, the University of Houston Law Center Distinguished Service Award 2013, the Ann Dinsmore Forman Memorial Child Advocacy Award 2012, and the Robert Allen Memorial Student Excellence Award 2012.

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