CFK Weekly October 31

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Bringing you the
most up-to-date and relevant news, research and policy developments affecting children,
youth and families.

October 31,

In This Issue
for Reconnecting Youth
Early Years
and Health Care
Doing What That Works
for Your Work
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It may be Halloween, but most of the news this week is
far from scary. From St. Paul, Minnesota and Pittsfield,
Massachusettes, come promising practices in city partnerships
to re-engage youth at risk of disconnecting from school
and work. In Missouri, state juvenile justice facilities
are making headlines for their innovative focus on treatment,
education and skills development. (As the reforms continue,
we'll track how well the results measure up.) And
our Who's Doing What That Works section looks at community
solutions to rural child welfare challenges.

There's less to cheer about when it comes to education
news, however. A new study finds Texas is not doing enough
to curb drop-out rates and hold onto struggling students
as racial and gender achievement gap grow in the state.
In the South overall, a majority of public school students
are low-income, according to a new Southern Education
Foundation report. School systems must do more to prevent
a vicious cycle of poverty and poor education.

On Capitol Hill, the House has revised its plans to extend
health care coverage for kids, and ZERO TO THREE and the
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities take a look at
what's in the new bill. Also this week: the latest
on attachment theory and early interventions, and a Tools
section with funding guides and other resources for your

See, not so scary.

Happy Halloween, everyone!
Caitlin Johnson

read PDF files, download the free Adobe


from the Municipal Network for Disconnected Youth

Here are two new snapshots of promising practices from
the National League of Cities' Municipal Network for
Disconnected Youth (from the October 2007 newsletter):
  • Developing
    Youth on the City-wide "Second Shift" in
    St. Paul, Minnesota.
    The mayor's Second Shift
    Initiative, launched in 2005, brings together city
    leadership and multiple agencies -- such as parks
    and recreation, public libraries, the local and state
    school system and the St. Paul Ramsey County Health
    Department -- to offer a wide range of programming
    at all city recreation centers during out-of-school
    time. This fall, a dedicated transportation link (the
    West Side Circulator) and an online program portal
    will open to increase access to services for youth
    and their families.
  • Strengthening
    a Local Network to Reconnect Youth in Pittsfield,
    City leaders, public sector agencies
    and community organizations have partnered to develop
    two complementary programs for youth at risk. "Project
    Reconnect: Pathways to Success by 21" is a community-based
    education and workforce development program to re-engage
    those most at risk. The Mayor's School Violence
    Prevention program uses the same partnerships to improve
    the climate surrounding these youth.
Both efforts establish a
holistic case management system, regular mediation,
health counseling and career exploration in three high-need
areas: construction, health care and hospitality. After
two years, students' perceptions of themselves and
their schooling have shown a marked increase on regular

Skills and Drop-Out Preventio

Every nine seconds, a student drops out of school in America.
The most recent studies put our national graduation rate
just under 70 percent. Although no single factor predicts
drop-out, a new review of the literature by a University
of Colorado researcher says considering multiple conditions
can help identify those at risk. The paper looks at what's
known about who drops out and why, what factors can help
students graduate and what schools can do to curb drop-out.
Fostering resiliency -- limiting negative behaviors associated
with stress, encouraging skills and relationships to adapt
and succeed -- can be very effective.

Men, Five Different Views on Educating Black Males

"Black males are discovering that they don't
need to 'hit the books' in order to make a living,
and this is the reason behind recent statistics that report
that as many as half of them drop out of high school and
don't pursue a college education," writes reporter
Cassie Chew in this October 15 article from Diverse Issues
in Higher Education. Chew looks at the range of views
expressed during last month's Congressional Black
Caucus Annual Legislative Conference.


Sees Teen Offenders as Kids, Not Inmates

In Missouri, a "kinder, gentler" and treatment-focused
response to troubled juvenile offenders is emerging. Facilities
like the Northwest Regional Youth Center offer college-style
dorms, classes and group therapy, as National Public Radio
reports in the first of a two-part series that began on
October 30. Read and/or listen online.

Costs: The Effects of Incarceration on Employment and
Earnings Among Young Men

In this new paper, Georgetown University's Harry Holzer
looks at the "collateral" benefits and costs
of the rising rates of incarceration -- to the people
in prison, their families, communities and the nation.
When it comes to earnings and employment, those effects
are negative. Holzer recommends policy and programmatic
changes to address these effects.


IDRA coverTexas
School Holding Power Worse than Two Decades Ago:
Attrition Study, 2006-07
  • Every four minutes, one student is lost from Texas
    public schools.
  • One out of every three students won't graduate
    with a diploma on time.
  • Racial achievement gaps are growing, and drop-out
    rates are worsening for boys.

These are some of the key findings of the latest Intercultural
Development Research Association (IDRA) study. Since 1986,
IDRA has conducted research on the dropout issue in Texas,
providing a two-decade snapshot of trends, county data
and a comprehensive look at state progress on this issue.
The IDRA study uses an enrollment methodology model for
calculating attrition rates. Get the facts and tools for
action in IDRA's bilingual Graduation
for All e-newsletter
. Subscribe for free online or
contact Laurie Posner at IDRA at

Southern Ed FoundationA
New Majority: Low-Income Students in the South's Public

In the South, low-income students are a majority in public
schools, according to a new study by the Southern Education
Foundation. The report's main message is simple: "Poverty
and lack of a good education beget poverty and inequality.
The South is in the throes of a self-perpetuating vicious
cycle.... It must transform its education system."
The report reviews demographic and educational trends
during the last 50 years and the primary factors behind
these trends. It also notes that if they continue, all
regions of the U.S. may face the same conditions within
a decade.

See the Education Week
coverage, "Low-Income
Students Are Public School Majority in South

pdfACT logoState
of College Readiness for Latino Students

Between 2002 and 2006, Latino high school graduates improved
their college readiness in science, math and English,
but not in reading, according to a new report from ACT.
On average, Latino high school graduates aspire to college
at similar rates to high school graduates overall. However,
the data show a discrepancy between Latino students'
aspirations and the real-life high school courses they
plan to take in order to meet these goals. ACT recommends
continuing to encourage Latino students to take high-level

- Three for Me: Finding Time for Involvement
PTA 3 for me

Research suggests that parental involvement in education
is important to student success. The National PTA's
Three for Me program calls on parents to dedicate three
hours of time to the school over the course of the academic
year, and to put that commitment into writing by signing
a Three for Me promise card. If your school doesn't
have the Three for Me program, the site will help you
get one started.

Early Years

CLASP logoCorrection:
Title I and Child Care

The Center for Law and Social Policy's recent Title
I paper
does not address the federal reauthorization
of No Child Left Behind, as we noted last week. Rather,
it makes recommendations for local school districts interested
in utilizing Title I funds for early education: build
relationships with community-based early childhood programs,
invest in district solutions and leverage funds from state
and federal sources. A separate CLASP report
offers early education recommendations for the reauthorization
of No Child Left Behind.

Healthy Relationships Between Young Children and Parents:
Lessons from Attachment Theory and Research

According to attachment theory and research, early child-parent
relationships lay the foundation for children's later
social, emotional and school functioning. This new brief
from the Center for Child and Family at Duke University
examines the range of attachments and their importance
for later development and offers guidelines and curricula
recommendations for practitioners, policymakers, parents
and others.

Works: Evidence on Early Child Interventions

The U.S. Department of Education's What Works Clearinghouse
recently reviewed 17 early childhood interventions (curricula
and practices) aimed at children ages 3 to 5 in center-based
child care. Each review covered: oral language, print
knowledge, phonological processing, early reading/writing,
cognition and math. It identifies the programs that offered
evidence of strong positive effects.

and Health Care

zero to three logoSCHIP
Redux: New Bill Passes House

In the wake of a presidential veto, the U.S. House of
Representatives has passed a revised bill to expand the
State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
ZERO TO THREE has the scoop on the compromise bill, which
still includes an additional $35 billion in funds over
five years. President Bush has called for $5 bllion in
additional funds. It's not yet clear when the Senate
will vote on its compromise bill.

CBPP logoNew
SCHIP Legislation Makes Significant Changes from Vetoed
Bill to Focus More Heavily on Poor Children

The new House SCHIP bill includes substantial revisions
that directly address a number of concerns raised by the
president and the bill's opponents. According to the
Congressional Budget Office, the new version would continue
to cover nearly 4 million uninsured children by 2012,
offsetting the five-year increase of $35 billion by raising
federal tobacco taxes. The Center on Budget and Policy
Priorities offers a clear explanation of the differences
in the new bill.

CDC school healthThe
School Health Policies and Program Study

This Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study
finds that U.S. schools have made "significant progress"
in health, fitness and nutrition over the last six years.
In many schools, vending machines and cafeterias have
gotten a healthier overhaul, but about one-fifth of schools
still do not require any physical education.

Doing What That Works

week, our partner, Child Advocacy 360, highlights innovative
work and perspectives from the child and youth field.

Surfing The Sites for Success
- Real People, Real Results in Child Advocacy

One of my great pleasures as an editor is to periodically
"surf the sites" in child advocacy. I often
find what to me, at least, are fresh stories of good works
and good results that serve as an inspiration for my work
at Child Advocacy 360 and Connect for Kids.

Here's an example: On October 1, 2003, the U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services awarded the Family and Children's
Resource Program, part of the Jordan Institute for Families
at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social Work, a five-year
grant to develop training to enhance the effectiveness
of child welfare workers and supervisors who serve rural
communities. Click
for excerpts from just one success story of this
initiative, as told by "Carol," a volunteer
mentor in a rural community. Rural Success Logo

The Rural
Success Project
is collecting stories about effective
community-based solutions to protect children and strengthen
families. Visit the site for an effective presentation
of the entire program.

And please, when you uncover or experience such successes,
share them with us at,
so we may share them with our community of readers.

- Hershel Sarbin, publisher, Child Advocacy 360 and editor
at large, Connect for Kids

for Your Work

the Match: Finding Funding for After School Education
and Safety Programs
fin proj

The Finance Project recently released a guide on matching
After School Education and Safety (ASES) funds for ASES
grantees online. The guide -- Making the Match: Finding
Funding for After School Education and Safety Programs
-- helps community, school and program leaders analyze
their funding needs, assess their current resources and
strategize about how and where to generate matching funds.
The guide is available for download at the Finance Project

Learning: Preparing Your Program to Capture New Funding
Opportunities (November 9)

Are you interested in additional sources of financial
support for your early childhood program? Want to know
what it takes to seek and compete for these funds? The
California-based Children's Collabrium (formerly the
Child Development Policy Institute Education Fund) is
hosting a free Futures in Management Institute to help
you learn where to start to make the necessary improvements.

Tools for Adults to Help Kids Connect Safely

This bimonthly e-newsletter from the National Education
Health Information Network, the National Center for Missing
& Exploited Children and Sprint is designed to equip
adults to help "tweens" (ages 9 to 14) stay
safer online and while using wireless devices. Written
by kids, parents, educators and technology experts, bNetS@vvy
offers real-world stories, resources and tools. Subscribe
online. bNetSavvy is also looking for writers: youth,
parents, education and technology professionals and others
who work with youth. Contact
for more information. (Full disclosure: our editor, Caitlin
Johnson, also edits bNetS@vvy.)

Family Week (November 18 - 24)

With support from the The Annie E. Casey Foundation, the
Alliance for Children and Families announces National
Family Week. It is intended to highlight the importance
of strong communities that are connected with the needs
of families and the positive impact this has on children's
lives. Get something started in your hometown!

Caitlin Johnson and Thaddeus Ferber

Connect for Kids and the Forum for Youth Investment