Experts Say New Federal Rule Brings Hope for LGBTQ Youth in Custody

Given the high rate of torment suffered by LGBT youth in custody, activists applauded last week’s finalizing of a landmark law that took nine years to get from adoption to implementation. Last Monday, the federal Department of Justice finalized a set of guidelines under the Prison Rape Elimination Act that could help stem the risks of the already at-risk LGBT population that is incarcerated, including minors. “We were already working on this issue while PREA was being passed, but this raises awareness,” said Sarah Schriber, senior policy analyst with the Chicago-based Health and Medicine Policy Research group and community convener for the Illinois Court Involved LGBTQ Youth Task Force. According to Schriber, few juvenile detention center personnel even knew what the existing anti-harassment rules were. “A much harder part is making those policies meaningful on the ground,” she said.

SAMHSA, MacArthur Foundation to Promote Diversion Programs for Youth With Mental Health Issues

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation have teamed up for a new $1 million project to divert youth with behavioral health conditions away from the juvenile justice system and into community-based programs and services. According to SAMHSA, 60-70 percent of youth in the juvenile justice system have a mental disorder and more than 60 percent suffer from a substance abuse disorder. Many of these youth, SAMHSA says, wind up in the juvenile justice system rather than receiving treatment for their underlying disorders. Up to eight states will be selected competitively to participate in the new collaborative initiative. If selected, states would receive support to develop and initiate policies and programs to divert youth away from the juvenile justice system early.

Experts Speak About Addiction Recovery for Young Adults

At the National Collegiate Recovery Conference Wednesday at Kennesaw State University, Michael Fishman, Director of the Young Adult Program at Talbott Recovery Campus in Atlanta, neatly summed up everything he had learned in 22 years of treating addiction in young adults. The recurring theme of his keynote address: It’s complicated. “Most young adults are generally poly-substance abusers,” he said. They aren’t just using marijuana; they’re also drinking, Fishman says. It’s not just opioids, it’s opioids and anti-depressants or any other combination.

New Report Shows the Crippling Cost of Child Abuse

This month the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report quantifying the costs of child maltreatment in the United States. The report underscores that child maltreatment is a serious public health issue with financial impacts comparable to a stroke and Type 2 diabetes. What the report does not quantify is the loss of a child’s innocence. What is the price of the smile on a baby’s face when he takes his first steps, or on the 8-year-old who scores her first goal, or on the 12-year-old who wins his class spelling bee? What about the joy and love brought into the lives of family and friends by that child?

Florida Symposium Focuses on Legal Representation for Abused and Neglected Children

In Florida, a two-day symposium will bring together leading national advocates and experts to discuss the legal representation of abused and neglected children. Organizers of the symposium, sponsored by the American Bar Association, say there is an urgent need to raise public awareness that abused children need to have lawyers protecting them in all court proceedings. The program begins with a media briefing Thursday, Feb. 9 followed by a symposium Friday, Feb. 10.

Ask the Experts: Questions Answered with Spanking Researcher Phil Davis

For more than two decades, Georgia State University professors Phillip Davis has studied corporal punishment as a form of discipline in the home. Today, you can find him in his office atop a downtown Atlanta high-rise, nestled in a mountain of books, research papers and students’ work that seems nearly as tall as the building. Through his largely survey- and interview- based research, Davis has taken a variety of approaches to assessing the dynamic of spanking, slapping, whipping and other forms of corporal punishment within American households. “Nine out of 10 people have done it, and nine out of 10 adults got it when they were kids in one way or another,” Davis said. “ Most who use it grew up with it, so it’s all very normal — as in ancient history.”

And, in fact, corporal punishment is a practice that dates back to ancient history in varying forms, but the ancient practice has been coming under some very modern scrutiny.

Judge Who Beat Daughter Says He Did Nothing Wrong

A Texas judge who was caught on video beating his daughter says he was simply disciplining his then 17-year-old. “In my mind, I haven’t done anything wrong other than discipline my child after she was caught stealing,” Judge William Adams told a Corpus Christi television station. “And I did lose my temper, but I’ve since apologized.” The video of Adams, 51, appeared on the Internet after the daughter, Hillary Adams, uploaded it. Hillary Adams, now 23, told the Associated Press that she has since had mixed feelings about making the video public.

Brian Dixon

The Other Side of the Rainbow: Young, Gay and Homeless in Metro Atlanta

[“The Other Side of the Rainbow: Young, Gay and Homeless in Metro Atlanta” is part 1 of a 3 part series on LGBT issues. Bookmark this page for updates.]

In April 2008, Brian Dixon was 18-years-old and homeless. Being gay, he says, only exacerbated his predicament. After allegedly enduring years of mental and physical abuse, at age 14 Dixon left home to live with his grandparents. Within a year, they placed him in Georgia’s foster care system.