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.

Teen using cell phone. Photo by Clay Duda for

For Growing Number of Teens Cell Phones Aren’t for Talking, Study Says

The average American teen is sending more text messages than ever before, quickly becoming their primary means of daily communication according to a report published last month by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The report, entitled “Teens, Smartphones & Texting,” was penned by Amanda Lenhart, and notes several major statistical changes regarding teenager cell phone use in just over a two-year period. According to the report, a typical teen ages 12 to 17 was sending approximately 60 texts per day in 2011, up from 50 in 2009. Additionally, the report finds that older teens, boys and African-Americans are texting in greater numbers than in 2009. The research indicates that kids ages 14 to 17 are sending a median of 100 texts per day, almost doubling the median number of texts the same age group was sending in 2009.

Reclaiming Futures Updates Model for Teen Recovery

Reclaiming Futures’ six-step model for helping young people who are struggling with alcohol, drugs and crime is receiving an update. The program began in 10 communities in 2001 with a $21 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The mission was to reinvent how juvenile courts, police, and communities work together in the interests of young people. The six steps in the Reclaiming Futures model were “initial screening,” “initial assessment,” “service coordination,” “initiation,” “engagement” and “transition.” Previously, the final step in the program had been called “completion,” but according to Susan Richardson, Reclaiming Futures’ national executive director, the name wasn’t complete. Writing on the Reclaiming Futures website, Richardson said completion “is an incomplete and sometimes inaccurate term for the complex work of transitioning out of ‘systems’ and into successful community life.”

Transition, she writes, more accurately portrays the “representative and interactive phase of transitioning youth to life outside of the justice system.”

Currently, the Reclaiming Futures model is used in 29 communities across the country.

New Website Launched to Meet Needs of At-Risk and Delinquent Girls

This week, a new online resource with a focus on providing services to delinquent and potentially at-risk young females was launched by the United States Department of Justice. The National Girls Institute, established in 2010 by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), is dedicated to providing local and private organizations with assistance and training to help prevent female minors from entering the nation’s juvenile justice system. Melodee Hanes, Acting Administrator of OJJDP, said that the organization has a responsibility to provide assistance, tools and other resources to programs designed to keep America’s girls out of courtrooms and detention facilities. “This website,” she said, “is an important step forward in our efforts to improve the lives of girls across the country.”

In addition to providing technical assistance and training materials, the website also includes extensive data and tool sets, many of which are customized in regards to specific needs of young women and girls, including trauma and cultural responsiveness resources. The National Girls Institute is also supported by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

vodka soaked tampon | stock photo | Clay Duda/JJIE Staff

Catching a Buzz From the Wrong End? What Parents Don’t Know about the Alcohol-Soaked Tampon for Girls and Boys

“I was at this party when I was 17,” he said. “We were all telling stories and one of my friends said something about tampons soaked in vodka.”

Alden, who declined to give his last name, said he immediately got a tampon from a girl at the party, soaked it in Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum and inserted it into his anus.

“It burned a little,” said Alden, “but other than that, it didn’t cause any pain.”

The Big Dangerous, Boys Playing With Fire

The first sign that there was trouble in the neighborhood was when we heard the fire trucks come screaming around the corner. Since we live on wooded acres surrounding Lake Allatoona north of Atlanta, we’re often on “fire-watch” during dry season. One spectacular summer night a few years ago the neighbors watched trees exploded like firecrackers after lightning struck one of the pine trees. That time the firemen were helpless to stop the ravaging fire as they bulldozed a fire break to keep it from consuming our homes. This time, however, it wasn’t natural causes that started the fire licking at the pines.

$50,000 to Bring Technology to the Classroom

The Entertainment Software Association Foundation awards grants up to $50,000 to provide programs and services utilizing computer or video game software to educate students between the ages of 7 and 18. To be eligible:

– Must be a 501(c)(3) non-profit. – Seek funding for a project that will be implemented nation-wide, or at least in two or more states. – Serve youth between the ages of 7 and 18. – Provide programs or services that utilize technology to educate. Offers Seed for Change, an organization focused on “helping young people rock causes they care about,” offers to help community-based projects and programs get off the ground with the Seed Grant. Read on for eligibility guidelines and deadlines.

Youth Service America and the Sodexo Foundation

$500 Grants for Youth-Led Hunger Initiatives

Youth Service America (YSA) and the Sodexo Foundation are awarding 25 Sodexo Youth Grants, totaling $500 each, in an effort to support youth-led service projects in conjunction with National Hunger & Homeless Awareness Week (Nov. 13-20, 2011). Applicants must be between the ages of 5 and 25 to qualify and the project idea must take place, at least in part, during National Hunger & Homeless Awareness Week. More than 17 million kids in the United States are at risk of hunger, according to the YSA, including the one in four children that rely on free or reduced-price school meal programs.
Videos from past grant recipients are available on the YSA website. If considering the grant a good place to start may be the eligibility quiz.