Wednesday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

Summer Jobs May Reduce Teen Violence, Study Says, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

Summer jobs may help reduce violence, according to a recent study that found that low-income Boston teens who held down summer jobs were less likely to engage in violence than teens without jobs.

The study, conducted by researchers at Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, surveyed more than 400 young people who obtained employment last summer through a State Street Foundation youth violence prevention program.

During the initial survey, 3 percent of young people involved with the program reported either threatening or attacking another person with a gun in the month prior to beginning their summer jobs. By the end of the program, however, just 1 percent of participants reported attacking or threatening someone with a firearm in the last month of the study.

The Importance of Sensory Integration Therapy, Special Education Law Blog

Sensory integration therapy (SIT) has been one of the treatment mainstays for thousands of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, ADD/ADHD, or other developmental disorders.  According to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), approximately 5 to 15% of children in the general population have sensory processing issues.  School-based and private occupational therapists and parents have brushed, swung, and bounced on balls countless children in an effort to improve their ability to process sensory input.  Yet, the effectiveness of this therapy, despite accolades it has received from therapists and parents, has been questioned.  Now a new study by Lang et al that assesses the benefits of SIT by reviewing 25 existing studies adds additional fuel to the debate.  In a nutshell, the study authors state that SIT is neither effective nor research-based and that agencies (such as schools) that are mandated to provide research-based interventions should not be using SIT.

Kansas Merges Juvenile System and Adult Correctional System, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

This month, a merger of Kansas’s juvenile justice system and adult correctional system goes into effect, with the state’s Juvenile Justice Authority (JJA) officially being incorporated into the Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC.)

The consolidation is the result of an executive order proposed by Gov. Sam Brownback at the start of the state’s 2013 Legislative session. The merger, which took effect July 1, is strictly administrative; juvenile populations, while now under supervision from the KDOC, will not be combined with any adult correctional populations.

South Caroline is Faulted on Child Services, NYTimes.com

In South Carolina, people accused of sexually abusing children do not face trial for years. Children who report abuse are not interviewed for weeks. Churches often stand between victims and help.

Those were among the findings of a privately financed report that comes as South Carolina is working to shore up its child protective system. The state is facing lawsuits and legislative scrutiny after a series of deaths, rapes and other assaults on children who were in state custody.
The report was welcomed by Gov. Nikki R. Haley, who said it offered useful recommendations for improving how the state — both the government and its citizens — can better address childhood sexual trauma.
Esther Kim

About Esther Kim

Esther Kim is a third year student at the University of Houston Law Center. She graduate from Wesleyan University in 2007 with a B.A. in Liberal Arts with a focus in Chinese Language and Literature. As an undergraduate, she worked one summer at the Citizens' Committee for Children, New York, a child advocacy organization, where she developed an interest in children's rights, community after-school resources, and immigration. Esther has recently been selected to be an Equal Justice Works Fellow, sponsored by Texas Access to Justice Foundation, at Lone Star Legal Aid, where she will be working closely with Asian victims of domestic violence in Harris and Fort Bend Counties.

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