DOZENS OF FOSTER YOUTH FROM ALL OVER THE U.S. DISCUSS REFORM PRIORITIES WITH LAWMAKERS IN D.C.
This week, nearly 100 current or former foster kids from advocacy groups across the nation traveled to Washington D.C. to give a voice to child welfare reform issues of particular importance to foster youth.
The young advocates are focusing on areas for reform revealed in a recent survey of over 500 current and former foster kids, including maintaining sibling relationships, stamping out homelessness for foster youth transitioning out of the system and into adulthood, and access to higher education.
The group is meeting with lawmakers during a larger conference for foster youth in D.C.
Youth Today’s Sarah Barr has the story. Here’s a clip:
The survey found that 52 percent of respondents ranked seeing their siblings as a top priority, while 47 percent said the same about preventing homelessness, 46 percent about college access and 44 percent about living independently.
Serena Skinner, a member of the California Youth Connection, said siblings are an important source of comfort and companionship, as well as a motivation to strive for achievements such as graduating high school or college.
“This need to have siblings present goes beyond just having siblings by our side. It can push a youth to better themselves and to want the very best for themselves,” she said at a press conference announcing the survey results.
In a year when the federal legislative conversation about foster youth has been dominated by concerns about funding levels and congregate care, these priorities offer a different way of looking at the day-to-day needs of foster youth, said Matt Rosen, executive director of Foster Youth in Action.
“What we do – that we think is flipping the script — is to raise up the voices and priorities of young people,” he said.
(Head over to Youth Today for more videos and information.)
A DIFFERENT LOOK AT ANNUAL CRIME STATISTICS IN AMERICA
The US Justice Department’s annual National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) results showed that in 2015, violent crime (excluding murders) did not change over the previous year. The survey results paint a picture that is slightly different from that of the FBI’s annual crime report, which gathered data from law enforcement agencies nationwide, and revealed a 3.9 rise in overall violent crime over 2014.
The victims survey was first used in the 70s. Since then, the NCVS has served as the leading source of national crime victimization numbers.
The two reports are not necessarily contradictory, however. The victim survey includes crimes that victims do (and do not) report to police, while the FBI gathers info from law enforcement agencies. The victims survey is just another interesting puzzle piece in the larger picture of crime in America.
Ted Gest of The Crime Report has more on the study. Here’s a clip:
Of two major NCVS violent crime categories, the estimated national robbery total has dropped over four consecutive years; aggravated assaults increased in 2014 after a year of decline, and then dropped last year.
The overall property crime rate, including household burglaries, theft and motor vehicle theft), dropped last year from 118.1 victimizations per 1,000 households to 110.7 per 1,000, NCVS reported today. A decline in theft accounted for most of the decrease.
Last year, 47 percent of violent victimizations overall and 55 percent of serious violent victimizations (rape or sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault) were reported to police. Property victimizations reported to police declined from 37 to 35 percent, and the percentage of household burglaries and vehicle thefts reported to police also declined last year.
NCVS reported no statistically significant differences last year compared with previous years in the rates of violent or serious violent crime by victims’ race or Hispanic origin, marital status, or household income.