Tuesday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

Here’s a look at today’s top stories affecting children’s rights, juvenile justice, and education:

Visa offers path for immigrant youth in state care, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Maria Boudet has no memory of Mexico or how she came to the United States. What she does remember is the year she turned 16 and found out she was living in the country illegally.

Two years ago, her mother was deported, her brother was detained and she was put in foster care. A powerful reminder of all she lost and gained is printed on the top right corner of her green card: “SL6.” That’s the code for special immigrant juvenile status (SIJS), the little-known program that allows Boudet and hundreds like her each year to live and work in the U.S. as a legal permanent resident.

York County’s “juvenile lifers” all expecting court hearings, York Daily Record

Attorneys representing the 11 men from York County serving life without parole sentences for murders committed as juveniles all filed a motion or petition in county court by Friday just to make sure they did not miss a deadline.

Whether there was a deadline remains something of a question.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 25 that mandatory life sentences for juvenile killers is unconstitutional.

Pennsylvania law mandates that a convicted person has 60 days from the time a new law is “enacted” to file for relief.

The question defense attorneys had was: When did or does the clock start ticking? Was it the day of the Supreme Court ruling or in the future when the state legislature enacts new law governing the sentencing of juvenile murders?

A Look at Girls in the Juvenile Justice System, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE)

A report released this month takes an in-depth look at how girls are represented in North Carolina’s juvenile justice system, how the numbers have shifted over the years and why females are the fastest growing segment of the juvenile justice system despite the overall decrease in juvenile crime. Representing Girls In the Juvenile Justice System, released by the North Carolina Office of the Juvenile Defender, looks at not only the characteristics and risk factors of girls in the juvenile justice system, but also offers several best practices to best serve the unique issues this population faces.

Q&A with Shay Bilchik, Former Head of the Federal Office on Juvenile Justice, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE)

Monday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

Here’s a look at today’s top stories affecting children’s rights, juvenile justice, and education:

Expelling Zero Tolerance: Reforming Texas School Discipline for Good, Texas Public Policy Foundation

Grits for Breakfast reports on the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s new report that shows Texas zero tolerance policies needlessly cost taxpayers money while having little effect on student behavior.

Kentucky justices to review law regarding grandparents’ visitation rights, Kentucky Courier-Journal

Twenty years after a ruling that gave grandparents the right to visit their grandchildren over the parents’ objection, the Kentucky Supreme Court is preparing to give the controversial issue another look.

In 1992, the court upheld a state law that allows grandparent visitation if it is in the child’s best interests, ruling that if “a grandparent is physically, mentally and morally fit, then a grandchild will ordinarily benefit from contact with the grandparent.”

But in a case from Louisville that will be argued Friday, the court will revisit the issue for the first time since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that the wishes of objecting parents must be given “special weight” and that fit parents must be “presumed to be acting in their child’s best interests.”

Young and Alone, Facing Court and Deportation, New York Times

Juan David Gonzalez was 6 years old. He was in the court, which would decide whether to expel him from the country, without a parent — and also without a lawyer.

Immigration courts in this South Texas border town and across the country are confronting an unexpected surge of children, some of them barely school age, who traveled here without parents and were caught as they tried to cross illegally into the United States.

The young people, mostly from Mexico and Central America, ride to the border on the roofs of freight trains or the backs of buses. They cross the Rio Grande on inner tubes, or hike for days through extremes of heat and chill in Arizona deserts. The smallest children, like Juan, are most often brought by smugglers.

Juvenile justice: Is there a better way? (Opinion piece), Des Moines Register