Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Child Poverty is On the Rise

Map from 1980:
Gray: Elderly
Red: Elderly and Children
Orange: Child Poverty

Map from 2010
Orange: Child Poverty

Check out this interactive map:

The Myth of Trickle Down Economics

Source of chart: Center for American Progress
A separate report, the 12th edition of the Economic Policy Institute's State of Working America, reflects the same findings:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Young People (Ages 16-19) Disconnected From the Workforce

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities finds that young adults have been hit the hardest by the recession and its aftermath. 

According to the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) recent budget and economic update, the percentage of people over age 16 who are working or actively seeking work has slipped fairly steadily for the past few years.

The recession and lack of job opportunities have left many young people (ages 16-19) disconnected from the labor force.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wisdom gleaned from CCAI Reports

There is much to be learned by reading through CCAI's annual Foster Youth Internship Report.

Each year, there is one particular topic that resonates with me deeply.

In 2011, I kept nodding my head at the following quotes from "Improving Accountability by Tracking Youth Outcomes in Care:"      *pg. 38

  • "The current system lacks crucial data on the life outcomes of youth in foster care."
  • "True reform of the foster care system depends on whether we are willing to measure ‘what counts’ – and what counts are the life outcomes of youth both in and after aging out of care."
  • "The tragedy in Rosie’s story is not just that she aged out of care unable to develop permanent connections or take care of herself, but that the child welfare agency was neither aware of nor held accountable for Rosie’s ultimate well-being."
  • "While Rosie was in care, the child welfare agency was required to collect information on several factors, such as how many times her social worker visited the home or whether she was enrolled in school. What the agency was  not expected to report on were details pertinent to her life outcomes such as her educational attainment, mental health and emotional and social development. "   
  • "The agency was not even asked to report on whether Rosie was self-sufficient enough to live independently . To the child welfare agency, the only outcome that mattered regarding Rosie was that she aged out from care."
  • "Until the child welfare system and the funding that supports it are structured in a way that both tracks and supports successful outcomes, reform will continue be constrained and the success of our youth in foster care will continue to be thwarted." 
The suggestion made in 2011 was to create and maintain "an effective database that will produce outcome-driven results needs to incorporate data from children who are at a younger age than seventeen and assess where the foster system is unable to provide youth in care with the skills and services they need to be successful ."

This year,  my heart and mind responded immediately to the section of CCAI's Foster Youth Internship Report titled, "Life's Transitions Do Not Happen Overnight:"  *pg. 56
  •  "Life's transitions are a critical part of human development."
  • "The current foster system is designed with the expectation that the transition from adolescence into adulthood can occur overnight."
  • "Autonomy plays a critical role in adolescent development; however... the strict rules and regulations placed on foster  youth by the state, foster parents and group home staff limits the amount of independence the youth experience."
Three areas of autonomy, vital to adolescent development were described:
  1. Emotional Autonomy: Shifting from reliance on parents to developing a circle of people upon who they can rely... This includes the growing ability to navigate relationships.
  2. Behavioral Autonomy: Making decisions independently and acting on those choices. Having the freedom to make decisions, even experiencing the consequences of those decisions within a safe environment, is a cornerstone to developing personal judgement.
  3. Value Autonomy: Developing the ability to think critically and make judgements involving higher-level thinking, such as attitudes and beliefs.
The recommendation made in 2012 is to incorporate a halfway house model into transitional living programs for foster youth. This model would include housing, job training, and the development of a network of relationships, in order to help our young people to "transition into adulthood with the knowledge, support and skills they need to succeed in life."