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April 13, 2010

HEY’s biweekly e-newsletter contains links to articles, reports, and information of interest to the foster care community. Click on the article title for the full post on www.heysf.org


In This Issue

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Community Opportunities
ADVOCACY 101 -- Free Advocacy Training

A Free Training Seminar with Public Policy Guru, Nancy Amidei
April 20, 2010. San Jose
Event Details: Two sessions will be offered in Santa Clara County on April 20th. Content will be the same at each. The sessions are free to the community. Click on the title for full details.

StrengthofUs.org

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has launched StrengthofUs.org, a new online community where young adults living with mental health concerns can provide mutual support in navigating unique challenges and opportunities during the critical transition years from ages 18 to 25. Developed by young adults, StrengthofUs.org is a user-driven social networking community where members can connect with peers, share personal stories, creativity and helpful resources by writing and responding to blog entries, engaging in discussion groups and sharing videos, photos and other news.

Upcoming Events
The National Reentry Resource Center will Webcast the Prisoner Reentry Institut's Occasional Series on Reentry Research

The National Reentry Resource Center will carry a live webcast of The Occasional Series on Reentry Research, hosted by the Prisoner Reentry Institute at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. The event will begin at 9:00 a.m. ET, on Friday, March 26, 2010. This presentation, “(Re)Starting and Stopping: Breaks between Criminal Activity vs. Permanent Cessation from Crime” will feature Shawn Bushway, associate professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Albany, State University of New York; Joseph Shields, executive director of the New Jersey State Parole Board; and William Eric Waters, program director of Community-Based Services at The Osborne Association.

According to the Prisoner Reentry Institute:

Desistance is the permanent cessation from criminal activity. Dr. Bushway’s research explores the differences in the processes by which people desist from crime. Specifically, this presentation will address criminal desistance versus intermittency. The latter refers to individuals who desist for short periods of time but who eventually return to criminal activity. A number of policy implications will be discussed. Particular focus will be given to parole policies and practices.

To watch the live webcast, please visit www.nationalreentryresourcecenter.org on Friday morning and click on the link in the “What’s New” section located in the top, right corner, or click here (this link will be active on Friday morning). Event materials, including Power Point presentation, panelist biographies, and a list of relevant resources, will be available on the Prisoner Reentry Institute’s website: www.jjay.cuny.edu/centers/prisoner_reentry_institute/2704.htm.

National Foster Care Month Events Calendar

National Foster Care Month is in May. You can include your National Foster Care Month event in the online Events Calendar by filling out the form on the National Foster Care Month website. Be sure to include contact information, as your event cannot be confirmed and posted without it.
http://www.fostercaremonth.org/EventsAndPromotions/Pages/EventSubmission.aspx

Bayview Connect 2010

Bayview Connect
Friday, June 11 from 10-3PM
Bayview Playground, San Francisco

This year HEY has partnered with the renowned Project Homeless Connect to provide a unique youth centered resource fair – Bayview Connect. This event is in honor of National Foster Care Month and is being held in the Bayview to outreach to the disproportionate number of youth and families who are currently or who have formerly been involved in the foster care system.

Bayview Connect will feature a special partner¬ship between Project Homeless Connect, Honoring Emancipated Youth (HEY), and SF ILSP/JCYC, SF Human Services Agency, Larkin Street Youth Services, JVS, John Burton Foundation, City Youth Now, and Bayview Magic. This event will be held in the Bayview Playground, a convenient stop off the MUNI line. Through a one stop model participants will receive access to services including: benefit assistance and processing, free on-site dental and medical services, legal advice, free haircuts, housing info and much more including free food and great raffle prizes for youth and families.

(Please visit www.ProjectHomelessConnect.com to find out more about Project Homeless Connect)

ILSP Needs Volunteer Painters and Extra Hands April 24

ILSP is looking for volunteers to help with fixing up the ILSP Teen Center at 225 Valencia on Saturday, April 24, 2010!

Rebuilding Together is improving the Teen Center, including painting with warmer colors, putting in cabinets and benches, covering the floor with carpet tiles (much needed), and opening up the space. These changes will make 225 more welcoming for youth and pleasant for activities and groups. Rebuilding Together is bringing in volunteer architects, contractors, and other supports, they are asking for additional volunteers as part of the team.

Click on the article title for the full day description.

This newsletter is solely for informational purposes; the legislative information and articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Honoring Emancipated Youth or United Way of the Bay Area.

If you would like to submit an announcement for a future HEY e-Newsletter, please email [email protected]

HEY Staff Recommended Trends to Watch
HEY is Featured this month on IssueLab!

IssueLab archives research about social issues, shares it with a broader audience, and advocates for the use of open licenses and open access standards in the nonprofit sector. A few months ago, HEY uploaded a few of our research documents about aging out of foster care. This month, IssueLab is featuring the issue of youth who emancipate out of foster care with their ‘IssueLab CloseUp: Aging Out of Foster Care’ and they have chose to highlight HEY and our recent publications about statistics, systems and best practices to serve youth aging out of care. HEY is proud to work with IssueLab and to provide our resources to the most amount of people possible!

Foster Care Month 2010 Planning Committee

Foster Care Month 2010 Planning Committee

The HEY Foster Care Month Youth Committee is a group of youth who are involved in helping plan and execute HEY’s foster care month events. Members of the youth committee are hands on in developing the programs for events, making recommendations to the larger committee in an effort to ensure Foster Care Month events are youth focused and youth led.  Youth on the committee will be conducting direct outreach to agencies in the Bayview raising awareness and support for Foster Care Month.

The Youth Committee is a Comprised of a group of youth who have had little to no exposure to leadership roles in early adolescents but are interested in improving their communities and event planning. The HEY team uses our Youth Empowerment Model by providing  the youth committee training in leadership, advocacy and community outreach and in return the youth offer their creativity and innovate ideas in how to make HEYs Foster Care Month events ones that truly reflect youths needs and voice.

Honoring Emancipated Youth is also working with a committee of community based organizations serving marginalized populations specifically foster and emancipated youth. Our Partners include: Project Homeless Connect, SF ILSP/JCYC, SF Human Services Agency, Larkin Street Youth Services, JVS, John Burton Foundation, City Youth Now, and Bayview Magic.

Foster Youth Leadership Awards 2010

Foster Youth Leadership Awards 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010 from 6-9pm

Born Auditorium

170 Otis (by Mission and Duboce)

San Francisco, CA

Honoring Emancipated Youth (HEY) is hosting its annual Foster Youth Leadership Awards – an evening celebrating the leadership of 30 current and former foster youth!  HEY’s mission is to strengthen and connect San Francisco’s systems of support so that all youth emancipating, or “aging out” of the foster care system can enjoy a healthy transition to adulthood.  This annual event is a collaborative effort organized by HEY in partnership with San Francisco Human Services Agency, SF Independent Living Skills Program, City Youth Now, and other San Francisco based agencies working with current and former foster youth.

The current economic environment has made it harder for youth to make successful transitions to independence.  The journey is even harder for foster youth; additionally negative media and statistics are often discouraging to productive foster youth who live a life contrary to what is portrayed.  Therefore, the aforementioned organizations feel it is important to congratulate and encourage foster youth in a public arena to recognize them for their good works.

Youth in foster care face incredible challenges and need the support of friends, family, and communities to assist them transition to healthy adulthood. Join social welfare professionals, educators, and others to celebrate San Francisco’s current and former foster youth for their accomplishments and outstanding leadership. Applications to nominate youth can be found by clicking on this link.

HEY's Program Committee in Action

HEY’s Program Committee is made up of community partners and individuals who are experts in foster care, transitional age youth, housing, health, employment and education. These experts help HEY decide which issues, projects and policies on which to focus our advocacy. One issue the Program Committee has focused on in the past year has been to improve policies for youth who move between foster care and juvenile justice systems. Several of our committee members connected with the office of Senator Carol Liu to advocate for the integration of the best possible language in the bill. Below is the statement from the Senator’s office.

FROM THE OFFICE OF SENATOR CAROL LIU:

In March 2010, HEY provided feedback to staff of Senator Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge) regarding Senate Bill 945. SB 945 requires probation officers to give previously incarcerated youth a written notice stating that the youth is a former foster child. The written notice will assist former foster youth with access to transitional living skills programs since youth who emancipated from juvenile delinquency court status, rather than dependency court status are often denied access to private and non-profit programs designed to assist former foster youth. “Our goal is to collaborate with experts in the field and none are greater experts than former foster youths,” says Senator Liu. “Policy should meaningfully address the needs of these at risk-youth.” Senator Carol Liu is also the author of SB962, a bill to help incarcerated parents in the state prison system participate in a child dependency hearing via video-conference, which was approved by unanimous vote from the Senate Public Safety Committee on March 23, 2010. The bill is now at the Senate Appropriations Committee. Researchers have cited transportation difficulties as a major barrier for a parent’s involvement in dependency hearings and have urged policymakers to fix the problem.

Senator Liu is a member of the Senate Human Services and the Chair of the Senate Select Committee of Women and Children in the Criminal Justice System. She has authored numerous Legislation to protect foster and incarcerated children; populations that tend to overlap.

Local, State and Federal Policy Updates
The Children, Youth and Family Budget Hearing

April 28th is the opportunity to come out to City Hall and testify– but is ALSO an opportunity to tell Mayor Gavin Newsom, who will have control of the budget until June 1st, that we need him to step up and preserve funding for critical programs for children, youth and families! More details to come soon about the schedule and logistics for the April 28th press conference & hearing.

Fostering Connections through Adoptions

Join us for a Webinar on April 15

The North American Council on Adoptable Children and the Fostering Connections Resource Center invite you to join us for a free webinar on the adoption provisions of the Fostering Connections Act. In implementing the new adoption policies, state leaders may be faced with a number of basic and technical questions. At this webinar, several state leaders will share how their states are implementing the new provisions related to adoption, including adoption tax credit notification, use of adoption incentive awards and expanded eligibility for adoption assistance.

State Strategies for Addressing the Sexual Health Needs of Youth in Foster Care

Save the Date: April 8th 2010, 3pm – 4:30pm (EST)
The National Stakeholders Collaborative (NSC) presents a webinar on State Strategies for Addressing the Sexual Health Needs of Youth in Foster Care. Featuring Presentations from
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and
The Safe Harbor Project

Children of the Incarcerated

Civic Action Network leaders have held numerous meetings with state elected officials resulting in the introduction of HB6750, sponsored by Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) in the House of Representatives. HB6750 which already has bi-partisan co-sponsorship, provides funds for mini-grants to local community organizations to provide the most vital services to children of the incarcerated.

Runaway and Homeless Youth: Prevalence, Programs, and Policy

A shocking percentage of American youth run away from home by age 18, according to a new snapshot of runaways to be published by the Urban Institute, and many do so before turning 14. Roughly half of all youth who leave home without parental permission or knowledge do so more than once, with girls more likely to be repeat runaways.

HEY Foster Care Library
Prisons don't use reading scores to predict future inmate populations

By Bill Graves, The Oregonian

The statement gets tossed out at conferences, pops up in blogs and surfaces in newspaper editorials. It is always a variation of this: “Some states use their third-grade reading scores to plan for future prison beds.”

A prominent early education researcher at Yale University told me five years ago that California uses third-grade reading scores to plan for its prison space. A story in Education Week ten years ago said Indiana does the same, except using second-grade reading test results. A quick search on the Internet reveals similar statements from a principal in residence at the U.S. Department of Education, an officer in the International Reading Association and by several op-ed columnists.

The statement in all of its variations appears to be an urban myth, corrections officials say.

I asked Max Williams, director of the Oregon Department of Corrections, if state planners looked at reading scores in projecting the state’s prison population.

“I do not believe they have ever looked at third-grade reading scores,” he said.

Instead, he said, planners look at complicated formulas that are based on arrest rates and demographic data, such as the number of 18-to-28-year-old men in the state.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation does not look at elementary school reading levels or literacy scores to project future prison bed needs either, wrote spokesman Terry Thornton, in an email Monday.

“This is an urban myth,” Thornton wrote. “The CDCR uses about 100 factors in projecting its future prison and parole populations. The major factors are historical trends of new admissions from courts, length of stay in prison, average length of stay on parole and the rate of return to prison from parole. We also consider any changes in sentencing practices in court….

“A few weeks ago I contacted nearly every department of corrections in the nation. I heard back from 25 states saying they do not use elementary reading levels to plan for future prison beds. We have no idea where this originated from.”

The myth probably has survived and circulated for more than a decade because it reflects the more fundamental truth that there is a powerful connection between school failure and crime. Several early childhood studies have shown that disadvantaged children who enter strong preschool programs are far less likely to get mixed up in crime when they get older.

A study that tracked 3- and 4-year-olds in a Chicago public preschool program for 15 years found children who did not participate in the program were 70 percent more likely to be arrested for a violent crime by age 18. A 22-year study found that about 7 percent of children in the well-knownHigh Scope/Perry Preschool program became chronic offenders, with more than four arrests, compared to 35 percent of their peers who were not in the program.

About 68 percent of state prison inmates have not received a high school diploma, according to a report last year by an Oregon organization of law enforcement officers and prosecutors called Fight Crime: Invest in Kids. Increasing the graduation rate in Oregon by 10 percentage points would prevent approximately 17 murders and 1,300 aggravated assaults in Oregon each year, according to the group’s report.

The connection between education and crime is obvious to police leaders, said Martha Brooks, state director of the group, which is based in Beaverton.

“We work on the early education issues because we know that most development happens ages zero to five,” she said.

Kids who start getting into trouble in middle and high school usually “have been struggling all the way along,” she said.

And if they’re struggling, they’re more likely to stumble into jail. But that doesn’t mean their third-grade reading scores will be used to reserve prison beds.

Children and Families Dealing with Incarceration

Often it is hard for families who have a family member in jail or prison to handle finances, keep in touch with their loved one, care for their children and keep the family safe and healthy. Children with parents that are locked up need support, as do caretakers for those children. In addition, when a family member returns from jail or prison, the return home can also be challenging.

Documentary about the impact of incarceration on families

SHANNON HEFFERMAN, Soros Media Fellow, is currently doing a Soros Media Fellowship on the impact of incarceration on families. The end product will be a radio documentary for broadcast through various NPR outlets and a multimedia website with stories and resources. The story collection will become a resource for folks who are organizing and serving on the ground. She needs some help to move forward: she’s looking for young folks (14-18) with an incarcerated parent who are open to sharing their stories. Shannon uses straight journalism (interviews) as well as collaborative documentary (where the subject becomes active in the documenting process themselves– keeping an audio diary, giving feedback during editing, etc. She focuses primarily on folks near Chicago. However, she would travel to another city to do a story if the circumstances were right. If you know of an incarcerated parent, caregiver, or parent whose partner is incarcerated with a powerful story, she’s open to those stories, too.

In addition, Shannon has set up a hotline where folks can call and share their stories. She is looking for anyone who has experienced the impacts of incarceration in a family context: caregivers, incarcerated parents, children of the incarcerated, siblings of the incarcerated, uncles, aunts, neighbors, social workers. The hotline is anonymous, just call: 951-262-3339 and leave a message. Stories will be posted online, once she gets an initial collection. PLEASE DISTRIBUTE THIS NUMBER WIDELY. This documentary is going to be a potentially amazing way to show all the collateral damages of incarceration.

Leadership and Child Welfare Systems: The Role of State Legislators

This brief discusses the critical role the State legislators play in supporting greater stability for child welfare agency leadership and the importance of Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs) as a tool for legislators in assessing child welfare system performance. It also describes the role of legislator-agency collaboration in bringing about system improvement through the CFSR process. The brief was produced for the Children’s Bureau by the technical assistance (TA) to State legislators on the CFSRs project component, managed by JBS International, Inc., with support from project subcontractor the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

ILSP Needs Volunteer Painters and Extra Hands April 24

ILSP is looking for volunteers to help with fixing up the ILSP Teen Center at 225 Valencia on Saturday, April 24, 2010!

Rebuilding Together is improving the Teen Center, including painting with warmer colors, putting in cabinets and benches, covering the floor with carpet tiles (much needed), and opening up the space. These changes will make 225 more welcoming for youth and pleasant for activities and groups. Rebuilding Together is bringing in volunteer architects, contractors, and other supports, they are asking for additional volunteers as part of the team.

Click on the article title for the full day description.

Honoring Emancipated Youth
United Way of the Bay Area, 221 Main Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 808-4435 • Fax (415) 817-4615
Visit us at www.heysf.org