Why Aren’t There More Alternatives to Youth Incarceration?

On this week’s podcast, we break down some recent research about toxicology testing of parents and newborns and how it connects to child welfare, legislative efforts to protect benefits for foster youth, and the troubling state of youth justice in Los Angeles. 

Jeff Fleischer, the recently retired CEO of Youth Advocate Programs and recent founder of Neighborhood Safety Advocates, joins to discuss YAP’s rich history and why he thinks America hasn’t developed more programs dedicated to serving youth who have committed serious crimes in the community.

Guest Interview Details

Jeff Fleischer served for more than 20 years as the CEO of Youth Advocate Programs, the Harrisburg-based nonprofit providing alternatives to youth incarceration in 33 states. Fleischer is the recent founder of Neighborhood Safety Advocates.

Reading Room

Disparities in Maternal-Infant Drug Testing, Social Work Assessment, and Custody at 5 Hospitals https://bit.ly/3Kbvj8c Incidence of Newborn Drug Testing and Variations by Birthing Parent Race and Ethnicity Before and After Recreational Cannabis Legalization http://bit.ly/42LzMpM Novel Implementation of State Reporting Policy for Substance-Exposed Infants https://bit.ly/3ZmJ5JA A Growing Number of States Vow to Stop Seizing Benefits Owed to Foster Youth http://bit.ly/3LTOt3V Numerous Reforms, Little Time for Los Angeles County to Improve its Juvenile Detention Facilities http://bit.ly/3MaGq31 Northern California Tribe Alleges California Unfairly Denied Extended Foster Care Benefits to its Youth http://bit.ly/3LPUrmr YAP’s New President an Old Hand at Pushing Against Incarceration http://bit.ly/40x4IIa Youth Advocate Programs Gets Federal Stamp of Approval http://bit.ly/40zCP2c Youth Advocate Programs, Major Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Provider, Gets $20 Million Investment from Ballmer Group http://bit.ly/42Lzz5F

The Future of Professional Friends

On this week’s podcast we discuss trends in the use of the Family First Act, the pursuit of more federal child welfare data, and a state seeks to lower the age of juvenile justice.

Terri Sorensen, longtime CEO of Friends of the Children, joins to talk about professional mentoring of youth, how her organization’s approach has developed over the years, and the insane run of major gifts that Friends has seen of late.

Guest Interview Details

Terri Sorensen has been the CEO of Friends of the Children for the past 20 years. Before that she was controller for the American Red Cross-Oregon Trail Chapter, held key managerial positions with Sprint Corporation and worked in public accounting for Ernst & Young in Kansas City, Mo.

Reading Room

Dear Colleague Letter on Family First Act https://bit.ly/3TrW8Im Federal Register Notice, AFCARS Data https://bit.ly/3TAdMK7 Bill Would Lower Tennessee’s Age of Criminal Responsibility To 17 http://bit.ly/3LBs1fU Friends of the Children Awarded $33 Million Grant to Bolster Mentoring Program https://bit.ly/3R0lgVH Michael Jordan Helps Get a Big Win for Mentoring Program that Works with At-Risk Youth http://bit.ly/3yS9S5G Donors Bet Big on Paid Mentoring. Does It Work? http://bit.ly/3n60clB National Youth Mentoring Model Faces Rigorous Final Test http://bit.ly/3mSMxOz Paid Mentors, Big Plans: Terri Sorensen on Friends of the Children’s Growth Strategy http://bit.ly/3FBW8A1

The Steady Decline of Youth Incarceration, with Melissa Sickmund

On this week’s episode, Melissa Sickmund, director of the National Center for Juvenile Justice, joins us to dive into the decades-long plummeting of youth arrests and incarceration, juvenile justice in the age of Covid-19, data blind spots and more.

Guest Interview Details

Dr. Melissa Sickmund joined the National Center for Juvenile Justice in 1986 and has been at its helm since 2012

Reading Room

Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/ezacjrp/ Juvenile Residential Facility Census Databook https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/jrfcdb/ Juvenile Justice Geography, Policy, Practice & Statistics https://www.jjgps.org/

See the Girl, with Lawanda Ravoira

On this week’s podcast we introduce listeners to Nancy Marie Spears, who will be covering Indigenous children and families for The Imprint and talk a bit about the upcoming Supreme Court case that could determine the future of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Guest Interview Details

  Lawanda Ravoira of the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center joins to talk about how juvenile justice systems continue to miss on designing effective interventions and solutions for girls, and to discuss her organization’s new See the Girl manifesto aimed at improving things on that score.

Reading Room

The Imprint Launches National Indigenous Family Reporting Beat https://bit.ly/3UnSCih See the Girl Summit: The Power of Voice https://www.seethegirl.org/ Advocates Call for Federal Investment in Girl-Focused Juvenile Justice Programs https://bit.ly/3MpQhjl Lawanda Ravoira, Advocate for Girls in the System, Going Local to Help Nationally https://bit.ly/3CEtvjt

Episode 100! Biden’s Juvenile Justice Agenda with Liz Ryan

On our 100th episode of The Imprint Weekly Podcast, we discuss a raft of new youth-related legislation introduced by Congress, moving teens to one of America’s largest adult prisons, and a new investment in adoption training.

Guest Interview Details

Liz Ryan, administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, joins us to discuss the Biden administration’s priorities for juvenile justice.

Reading Room

A Federal Bill Could Boost Funds for Home Visiting Program for Parents https://bit.ly/3ByFPBc Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act of 2022, Section-by-Section https://bit.ly/3DTaRWY Strengthening Tribal Families Act of 2022 https://bit.ly/3DRnvFY Federal Judge Allows Louisiana to Move Incarcerated Teens to Angola https://bit.ly/3C9BFBa Decarceration Advocate Liz Ryan to Lead Juvenile Justice for Biden Administration https://bit.ly/37hzj6A Nation’s Top Juvenile Justice Official Disputes ‘Youth Crime Wave’ Narrative https://bit.ly/3xR7k7X

Closing the Book on “Kids for Cash”

On this week’s podcast we discuss developments in the legal battles over access to gender-affirming care for youth, the U.N.’s critique of American child welfare laws, and problems with the planned closure of California’s state-run youth prisons. 

Guest Interview Details

Last month, a U.S. district court ordered two former judges to pay damages totaling $206 million to families that were caught up in what came to be known as the Kids for Cash Scandal in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. Marsha Levick of the Juvenile Law Center, who helped expose the scandal, joins to reflect on the lessons of this insanely dark moment in juvenile justice history.

Reading Room

Court: Arkansas Can’t Ban Treatment of Transgender Kids https://bit.ly/3RPZYJe A Proposed Law Would Give Trans Youth Refuge in California https://bit.ly/3L3cdQN UN Committee Suggests the US Change or Repeal Major Child Welfare Policies https://bit.ly/3RZNLlz Washington Will Stop Using Child Support to Fund Foster Care https://bit.ly/3RQ08jO California’s Historic Shuttering of State-run Youth Prisons is Moving Forward, But Remains Far From its Progressive Vision https://bit.ly/3BsePTZ Child Welfare Ideas from The Experts https://bit.ly/3AVgYae Judges in “Kids for Cash” Scandal Must Compensate Families https://bit.ly/3U3VsbY Zero Tolerance Breeds Zero Justice https://bit.ly/3RzuSG1

Summer Roundup, Fall Preview

No interview this week! We’ll be back with more great guests after Labor Day. On this episode, we catch up on a whole slew of headlines in child welfare and juvenile justice from the summer. Then, we highlight five things to keep an eye on this fall in terms of federal law and policy.

Reading Room

Pennsylvania Parents Sue State Over “Unconstitutional” Child Abuse Registry https://bit.ly/3QGIfDD California Bill Would Bar Police from Lying to Kids During Interrogations https://bit.ly/3SPIGxn Fewer Hennepin County Children in Foster Care are Reunified with Family https://bit.ly/3c0Ign7 Foster Care Numbers Up for Fifth Straight Year, Federal Data Released Today Shows https://bit.ly/3JXSBNd American Bar Association Resolution 606 https://bit.ly/3doqPgB Arrests of Youth Declined Through 2020 https://bit.ly/3QHUOyv Patterns of Juvenile Court Referrals of Youth Born in 2000 https://bit.ly/3w3s2Ra Supreme Court Set to Consider Fate Of Indian Child Welfare Act in November https://bit.ly/3BIVPlC Briefs Filed in Brackeen v. Haaland https://bit.ly/3Pp3Ord The Imprint’s coverage of the Indian Child Welfare Act https://imprintnews.org/topic/icwa Federal Bill Aims to Better Measure, Retain States’ Foster Homes https://bit.ly/3Qk2MOu

America’s New Juvenile Justice Leader; Reasonable Efforts in Child Welfare with Judge Len Edwards

On this week’s podcast, we discuss the Justice Department’s entry into the legal battle on trans medicine for youth; Biden’s new juvenile justice leader, decarceration advocate Liz Ryan; and the first state in decades to pursue lowering the age of its juvenile justice system.

Guest Interview Details

Judge Len Edwards joins us to talk about the “reasonable efforts” standards in child welfare policy, his book on that topic, the rise of relatives in the system, and the future of the Indian Child Welfare Act. 

Reading Room

Free Event! Safe Space When There’s No Safe Place: Tips from Youth Who Faced Maltreatment Register: https://bit.ly/38ZmChi Decarceration Advocate Liz Ryan to Lead Juvenile Justice for Biden Administration https://bit.ly/37hzj6A U.S. Department of Justice files challenge to Alabama transgender law https://bit.ly/3vVKkEm Louisiana Stopped Putting 17-Year-Olds in Adult Prisons. It May Start Doing It Again. https://bit.ly/37u85da Texas Juvenile Justice Leader Departs with State Agency at Critical Juncture https://bit.ly/3w5mqVG Ignoring Reasonable Efforts: How Courts Fail to Promote Prevention https://bit.ly/3kRhYEY Timely Permanency and the Appellate Process https://bit.ly/3LWGxfs

Raising the Age, Cleaning the Slate with Jason Smith

We discuss several headlines related to litigation in the child welfare space, including two states exiting class-action lawsuits after decades and a new legal center aimed at fighting removals into foster care. Also: MacKenzie Scott drops unrestricted grants on youth organizations, and a great new visualization tool on racial and ethnic disproportionality in foster care. 

Guest Interview Details

Jason Smith, executive director of the Michigan Center for Youth Justice, joins to discuss how Michigan’s recent reforms of its juvenile justice system, and what’s changed since the 2020 death of Cornelius Fredericks.

Reading Room

Agreement Reached on New Jersey Plan to Exit Decades-Old Child Welfare Lawsuit https://bit.ly/3JM2Gfg Federal Court Approves End to Child Welfare Lawsuit in Connecticut, Citing Dramatic Improvements for Children and Families https://bit.ly/36sQhPc South Carolina Short Term Action Plan https://bit.ly/3DdnJVM New Civil Rights Organization Dedicated to Families’ Rights Launches in New York City https://bit.ly/356ToLZ Billionaire MacKenzie Scott Supports Child Welfare, Youth Justice Organizations https://bit.ly/3NejTAi Disproportionality Rates for Children of Color in Foster Care Dashboard (2010-2020) https://bit.ly/3JMDZ2f Michigan Raises the Age, Includes 17-Year-Olds in Juvenile Justice System https://bit.ly/3JJPCad Michigan Raise The Age Law on Track to Pass, Leaving Three States with Juvenile Age Under 18 https://bit.ly/36NsWHB

Child Welfare in The Early Pandemic; Remembering Edgar Cahn, Juvenile Justice Visionary

On this week’s podcast, we try to tie three different sets of federally collected numbers together in regard to child welfare during the earliest phase of the COVID-19 pandemic between March and September 2020, when lockdowns were ubiquitous, schools were mostly closed and vaccines were still in the offing. We also talk about some well-timed research on the nexus between income support for poor parents and child well-being.

Later in the podcast we talk what could be the first collateral consequence of last year’s Supreme Court decision on faith-based discrimination in child welfare; where things stand with a court challenge to the Indian Child Welfare Act and auditing L.A.’s child welfare agency. We end with a discussion of Edgar Cahn, a giant in the legal community whose legacy includes two innovative ideas in juvenile justice.

Reading Room

Child Maltreatment 2020 https://bit.ly/3rdgets 2020 Child Maltreatment Data: A Breakdown https://bit.ly/3u5vfiI Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System https://bit.ly/3udG5n0 Trends in U.S. Emergency Department Visits Related to Suspected or Confirmed Child Abuse and Neglect https://bit.ly/3rdEuvJ Cash Aid to Poor Mothers Increases Brain Activity in Babies, Study Finds https://nyti.ms/3KVYGtF Public Investments and Class Gaps in Parents’ Developmental Expenditures https://bit.ly/3GcwqzA Michigan Settles Lawsuit with St. Vincent Catholic Charities over Same-sex Adoptions https://bit.ly/32I7Rwy Jews Have Been Rejected by Adoption Agencies for Years. This Couple Hopes to Force a Change https://bit.ly/3KVqjDd Edgar Cahn, Pioneer of Time Banking, Passes Away https://bit.ly/3KNvAMY A Perfect Combination of Chutzpah and Soul https://wapo.st/35AGINf A Novel Approach on Litigating Racial Disparities in Juvenile Justice https://bit.ly/3g9BWYZ

The Best of The Imprint Weekly Podcast, 2021 Edition

We had some amazing guests join us on The Imprint Weekly Podcast this year, and we reviewed the entire 2021 archive to bring you clips from some of the very best! This episode includes clips of 20 interviews from this year. 

If you enjoy this podcast, or the great work our reporters do at The Imprint and Fostering Families Today, please consider making a donation. And if you do so this month, during Newsmatch, your donation will get doubled!

Fostering Media Connections is very lucky to have some terrific philanthropic supporters, advertisers and sponsors, and subscribers to our business and policy section that help make this organization go. But we really cannot do it without donors like you who read our stuff, listen to our podcasts and attend our online events. 

There are tons of really great nonprofit, independent news outlets to support out there, and we hope you consider us one of them. To give today it’s easy! Visit imprintnews.org/donate. 

Guest Interview Details

Guests on this episode include:
  • Melissa Thompson, Melanie Jordan and Cam Lundstrom of the Office of Respondent Parent Counsel in Colorado
  • Christopher Scott and Lino Peña-Martinez of Sun Scholars
  • Gary Ivory, president of Youth Advocate Programs
  • Former juvenile judge Karen Baynes-Dunning
  • Michelle Caldeira, senior vice president of College Bound Dorchester
  • Dorothy Roberts, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Program on Race, Science & Society
  • Kevin Skidmore, owner of Four Fourty Trucking in Georgia
  • Dr. Jay Miller, dean of the University of Kentucky School of Social Work
  • Adoption expert April Dinwoodie
  • Beverly Jones, child operating officer for Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois
  • Takkeem Morgan, founder of Foster Together Indiana
  • Josh Gupta-Kagan, professor, University of South Carolina School of Law
  • Dr. Bruce Perry, founder and senior fellow at the Child Trauma Academy
  • Rae Baker, director of the Minnesota Prison Doula Project
  • Kris Henning, professor, Georgetown Law
  • Rebecca Nagle, host of the award-winning This Land podcast
  • Corey Best, consultant, Mining for Gold
  • Irene Clements, former president, National Foster Parent Association
  • Lisa Thurau, founder, Strategies for Youth

“Kids Are Not a Priority Until They’re a Problem”

On this week’s episode, we discuss California’s looming foster care cliff for older youth, obesity-as-neglect in Pennsylvania, and the passing of a major figure in international adoption. 

Guest Interview Details

Lisa Thurau, the head of Strategies for Youth, joins us to talk about the true front door of the juvenile justice system: police encounters with youth. We talked about the origins of her organization, how it trains law enforcement to think differently about engaging young people, and what she thinks will come of the current moment of reckoning around police and civil rights.

Reading Room

Donate to Fostering Media Connections during the month of December and your contribution will be fully matched! Help support our independent coverage of child welfare, youth justice and youth homelessness today at www.imprintnews.org/donate. Youth Voices Contest, Free Registration www.YouthMatterSFY.org Los Angeles Leaders Aim to Prevent “Housing Cliff” for 1,100 Aging Out of Foster Care Dec. 31 https://bit.ly/3owBaKA The New Year’s Cliff for California Foster Care Requires a Community Solution https://bit.ly/3oi7xN0 A Pennsylvania Case Illustrates Again Why, for Children, “Best Interests of The Child” Is Among the Most Dangerous Phrases in the “Child Welfare” Lexicon https://bit.ly/3s0fWXx Hyun Sook Han, Korean Social Worker and Adoption Pioneer, Dies at 83 https://nyti.ms/3rW1Gze Make Training Police on Juvenile Justice, Youth Interaction a National Priority https://bit.ly/3IFnzbY Hope Springs Infernal for Better Policing https://bit.ly/3DIleJG

Chicago’s Unprecedented Juvenile Detention Experiment

On this week’s podcast we discuss a foster care capacity crisis in Texas, promising programs and bad facilities in Los Angeles, and former foster youth getting positions of leadership in federal government. 

Guest Interview Details

In the early 2010s, Chicago’s juvenile detention center got a much-needed physical overhaul. Its leadership at the time used the opportunity to set up a gold-standard trial to test a new approach to engaging the youth inside. Juvenile detention expert David Roush joins us to talk about what they found and what’s happened since.

Reading Room

Healers in The System: From the Health Field to Child Welfare Leadership Register for free! Tomorrow, Sept. 21, 4pm EST (can’t make it? Sign up and receive the recording!) https://imprintnews.org/webinars Virtual Town Hall on Pandemic Assistance for Foster Youth TODAY at 4pm EST https://thinkofus.typeform.com/to/hUC75vWw More Texas Foster Youth Are Sleeping in State Offices Than at Any Other Point in Recent Years https://bit.ly/3hIQL5R Texas Foster Care Children Exposed to Sexual Abuse, Given Wrong Medication and Neglected in Unlicensed Placements, New Report Says https://bit.ly/39jqc2L Los Angeles County Supervisors Approve Therapeutic Approaches to Youth Detention https://bit.ly/3AiTHgT State Agency Declares L.A.’s Juvenile Halls ‘Unsuitable for Confinement of Minors’ https://bit.ly/3CoEcVd Foster Youth Advocate Joins Biden Administration’s Child Welfare Agency Leadership https://bit.ly/39c0DR7 Child Welfare Policymakers Need to Learn User Centered Design https://bit.ly/3kn5mG7 Young Adult Consultant and Youth Support Leads Application www.bit.ly/ICFYAC2021

Building a Voice for System-Involved Youth with Alain Datcher

On this week’s podcast we discuss the everyday impact of the Indian Child Welfare Act in court; a guide for current and former foster youth who want to find out if they are owed social security benefits; Alabama gets sued (again); and new entries into the Family First Prevention Services Act.

Click here to view our full podcast archive for more interviews with leading voices in the fields of child welfare and youth justice.

Guest Interview Details

Alain Datcher, executive director of the new Los Angeles Youth Commission, joins us to talk about how the new body will be put together and what guarantees are in place to make sure it has real power to influence the discussion on child welfare and juvenile justice policy.

Reading Room

Register for “Dollars and Dreams: Don’t Waste What’s in Your Wallet!” http://bit.ly/DollarsAndDreams Minneapolis Lawyers Rely on ‘Gold Standard’ Law to Keep Native American Families Together https://bit.ly/2QwINme Were You Ever in Foster Care? Here’s How to Find Out if the Government Took Your Money https://bit.ly/2RxufmX Class-Action Lawsuit in Alabama Alleges Mistreatment of Foster Youth https://bit.ly/3ytvfch Clearinghouse OKs Five More Programs for Family First Act https://bit.ly/3tZQu1R Los Angeles Youth Commission Website https://youthcommission.lacounty.gov/

Raising the Floor on Prosecuting Youth

On this week’s podcast we discuss a multi-million dollar jury award in a “hidden foster care” case; a bill to offer employers a tax credit to hire current or former foster youth; another state moves to protect faith-based discrimination; and the New York mayoral candidates talk child welfare.

Guest Interview Details

Ricky Watson, executive director of the National Juvenile Justice Network, joins us to discuss local and national efforts to establish a minimum age for arresting and processing youth. 

Reading Room

AP: N.C. County Illegally Removed Kids from Homes https://bit.ly/3bNi5xd Verdict: Federal jury awards millions to daughter, father separated by Cherokee County DSS https://bit.ly/2RmrkgG Tax Incentive to Hire Foster Youth Back in Congress https://bit.ly/3faVuLI We Asked the New York City Mayoral Candidates About the High-Stakes Child Welfare System. Here’s What They Said. https://bit.ly/NYCchildwelfare Still Bridging the Opportunity Divide for Low-Income Youth: Year Up’s Longer-Term Impacts https://bit.ly/33L4QIT Juvenile Arrests in 2019 Continued Long Downward Trend https://bit.ly/3hqd6pD Raising Our Standards by Raising the Minimum Age https://bit.ly/3uRYR0K

Child Welfare Challenges in The Sunshine State

On this week’s podcast we discuss the police shooting of an Ohio foster youth, the recent Supreme Court decision on juvenile sentencing, and a novel partnership to connect former foster youth with housing stability.

Guest Interview Details

Robert Latham of the University of Miami’s Children and Youth Law Clinic joins us to discuss several issues at play in Florida, one of America’s largest and most privatized child welfare systems. We talked about Latham’s unprecedented data project tracking the movement of foster youth in the state, a law that often leads to system-involved youth being confined in mental health facilities, and the state’s child welfare response to COVID-19.

Reading Room

Reading Room Police Killing of Foster Child Ma’Khia Bryant in Ohio Wrenches Youth, Allies https://bit.ly/3vdTusm On Juvenile LWOP, Supreme Court Answers One Question and Creates Another https://bit.ly/3dP3GSo Ohio Senate Seeks Ban on Life Without Parole for Juveniles https://bit.ly/3dNCV0v Ben Carson Unveils Major Stable Housing Initiative for Former Foster Youth https://bit.ly/3odHqUS Supporting Foster Youth on College Campuses https://bit.ly/2PaX07q