Resilience: Our Nation’s Great Social Justice Issue for Kids

I firmly believe that resilience is not just something you’re born with — it’s something that can be taught to both children and adults. This breakthrough idea comes after years of working directly with students, but current research backs me up.

Troubled Teens Blossom in Strength-based Program With Caring Adults

Lead4Life, Inc.’s purpose is to create a culture of love and support. We are addressing the school-to-prison pipeline in a very nontraditional manner but one that is extremely effective and provides a meaningful experience for most participants.

Sexually Exploited Girls in Need of Services, Not Handcuffs

For as long as anyone can remember, children bought and sold for sex in the United States have been ignored or worse — they have been arrested, incarcerated and released right back onto the streets.

What’s Our Excuse for Being Callous With Kids?

I recently trained some probation officers on something called graduated sanctions — a best practice in the supervision of juveniles that gives probation officers discretion to respond immediately to probation violations without having to file a petition, arrest the kid and appear before the judge. It’s worth mentioning, because a number of courts do not use it, but suffer busier dockets and tend to have higher detention and recidivist rates. It has confounded me why some of us in this business haven’t figured out that keeping officers in the field and out of the courtroom, reduces recidivism. The real work, you might say, is outside the courtroom. But those of us doing graduated sanctions must do it correctly.

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.

Sandusky-founded Kid’s Charity Postpones Its Transfer to Houston Nonprofit

The Second Mile, the charity organization founded by Jerry Sandusky – the former Penn State coach convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse in June – announced Monday it is postponing plans to transfer its programs and assets to a Houston-based nonprofit. Earlier this summer, The Second Mile requested that it be allowed to transfer its programs and assets, totaling nearly $2 million, to Arrow Child & Family Ministries, Inc. However, The Second Mile Chief Executive, David Woodle, said the deal is suspended until all ongoing damage claims filed by the lawyers of Sandusky’s victims are resolved. Monday, Woodle announced that his organization – in agreement with Pennsylvania attorney general and lawyers representing four youth victimized by Sandusky – has requested that the Orphans’ Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas of Center County stay a previous Petition for Distribution of Assets filed by the nonprofit. “Both The Second Mile and Arrow feel that staying the Petition at this time will better serve all involved as it limits further stress on the victims and avoids unnecessary litigation costs,” Woodle is quoted in an official statement released by the nonprofit. The organization was founded in 1977 by Sandusky.

Report Urges State Agencies to Address Growing Kinship Care Needs

A new report finds that more American children are living under kinship care with relatives or family friends instead of their parents, than a decade ago. The report, published by Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT project , entitled “Stepping Up for Kids: What Government and Communities Should Do to Support Kinship Families”, found that approximately 2.7 million children are currently living with people other than their parents, an arrangement also known as kinship care. The report also found that about 9 percent of the nation’s youth will live under care of an extended family member for at least three months at some point in their childhood. The authors of the report claim that kinship care needs to be addressed by both community and government programs, as many times family members or friends that assume parental responsibilities are hampered by limited income and the legal inability to obtain basic medical services or authorize medical consent for the children in their care. According to the report, kinship care guardians are very likely to be poor, single, older, less educated and/or unemployed and are often unfamiliar with federal assistance programs, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

runaway kid

Runaway Youth Helped Using 10-Question Tool

Experts estimate about 2 million kids run away from home each year putting them at greater risk of physical or sexual abuse, homelessness, drug addiction and physical and mental health problems. Many are in need of medical care or other services. To ensure runaways get the help they need, police in St. Paul, Minn. who encounter runaways are using a short, 10-question screening tool to assess the runaway’s safety and whether they have been victimized while they’ve been away from home. Medical professionals and researchers in Minnesota developed the 10-Question Tool with assistance from local police.