April 2016

Things to Consider in April 2016…

The Educational Experience of Youth in Foster Care 
This study used focus groups to explore foster youths’ school experiences including challenges and supports as seen through their eyes. Areas of concern among foster youth included the stigma of foster care identity, a school’s commitment and ability to support students in order to make progress, placement/school change, and other barriers to success. It is critical that educational professionals understand the unique perspective of youth in foster care in order to improve educational outcomes. It appears that educational systems often lack a structured process to effectively recognize and respond to foster youth in their schools in a trauma-informed manner. (Page 11 in Journal of At-Risk Issues)

Challenges in Educating Students With Highly Disruptive Behavior in a Large, High-Poverty Elementary School
This article describes the experiences of teachers in educating students with highly disruptive behaviors at a large, urban, high-poverty elementary school. Teachers at the school responded to a survey regarding their experiences, feelings, thoughts, and opinions of the work they do. Results indicate a high rate of frustration along with dedication to the students. Implications for counselors and related professionals (including administrators) for understanding teachers’ experiences are discussed in order to help the teachers be more successful when dealing with students who exhibit at-risk and behavioral challenges. (Page 1 in Journal of At-Risk Issues)

The Decline of Play and Rise in Children’s Mental Health Disorders
Depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders are on the rise among young people and, according to the author, parallel the decline of children’s freedom to play and explore on their own, independent of direct adult guidance and direction.  As a result of this shift, he states we are depriving children of opportunities to learn how to take control of their own lives. While adults may think they are protecting them, they are in fact decreasing their ability to feel in control and taking away the opportunity to self-explore and develop intrinsic systems of value.

The Characteristics of Juvenile Offenders Who Stop Committing Crimes
In 2000, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh led the largest longitudinal study on teenage criminals ever conducted. The study followed 1,354 adolescents found guilty of a serious offense, usually a felony, in Phoenix and Philadelphia and conducted 20,000 interviews over seven years. They identified a group of adolescents that was able to stay out of the criminal justice system and examined the reasons why they were successful. They found that the successful teenagers had a more mature worldview, and had obtained and held on to a job in the community.

“Foster Care vs. Family Preservation” Is the Wrong Debate
Child protective services agencies are mandated to keep children both physically and emotionally safe and secure.  Discussing foster care as opposed to keeping a family together only makes sense if we assume that foster care will always be a safer option for the child physically, and if we choose to ignore the trauma and psychological damage of removal.  According to the author, neither foster care nor family preservation is absolutely safe – but a far greater majority of children fare better growing up with their family than growing up in the child welfare system.

Handcuffing A Third Grader? Interactions Between School Resource Officers and Students With Disabilities
This study begins by providing a background about SROs, focusing on their training and responsibilities. Next, the article reviews the provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that pertain to the use of behavioral interventions to address challenging behaviors of students with disabilities. A legal analysis of lawsuits brought by students against SROs is also included. The article concludes with recommendations for school administrators, teachers, SROs, and parents of students with disabilities.

Useful Tools and Resources

FCC to Offer Internet for $9.25 a Month for Low-Income Households
In a statement published Thursday, March 31, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission said it is expanding the Lifeline program, which subsidizes home phone service and mobile phones, to include broadband access in order to support low-income Americans’ “full and meaningful participation in society.” What the commission calls the “homework gap” will also be positively affected, allowing students access to the tools needed to complete assignments and research. The expansion will begin by the end of this year.

Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD): Marketing & Informational Tools
Items in this toolkit are designed to teach basic knowledge, skills and values for care providers working with children with IDD who have had traumatic experiences. By using these tools, children’s safety, well-being, happiness, and recovery are possible through trauma-informed practice. A Facilitator Guide, Participant Manual, Slide Kit, and Supplemental Materials are included. Provided by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.