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Report: Fewer Locked-Up Kids, Less Youth Crime

New Iinitiative Started to Help Youth Transition from Foster Care To Adulthood

MEDIA RELEASE 
February 27, 2013

Contact: Beth Rosenberg
brosenberg@azchildren.org
(602) 266-0707 x206

Download pdf version here.

(Phoenix, AZ) Children’s Action Alliance and the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust yesterday launched a new initiative crafted to help youth who have been living in foster care make successful transitions to adulthood. The Arizona Youth Opportunities Initiative will inventory and evaluate existing services for youth who are leaving the foster care system, recommend services that might be networked together, find gaps in support services, and create new opportunities for foster care “graduates” to move on to higher education and life-long success.

“We want to make sure these young people have the same support systems that we provide to our own children,” said Belen Gonzalez, a Trust program officer who has led our work on this initiative. “It is about putting them in the best position for success. It is making sure they have at least one connection to a helpful, understanding adult in their lives.”

Every year in Arizona, more than 700 teenagers “age-out” of the foster care system, meaning they have reached their 18th birthday without finding a permanent family. Fewer than 3% of them will graduate from college. Without a family to turn to for support, many of them will face high rates of poverty, unemployment, incarceration and homelessness.

The Arizona project will benefit from numerous community partnerships and advice from The Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, a national foundation working currently in 15 sites around the country. Together we will work to strengthen systems that help youth leaving foster care overcome challenges and find better opportunities. The Initiative will include the voices of the real experts, young people now living in foster care and young adults who grew up in the foster care system.

“It’s hard for any of us to imagine turning 18 and being alone in the world. So it’s no surprise that when foster care ends, these young people don’t know which way to go,” said CAA President and CEO, Dana Wolfe Naimark. “Thanks to this initiative, we can all help turn fear and uncertainty into opportunities for education and stability.”

At a reception on Tuesday, February 26, 2013, child advocates and leaders in the nonprofit and philanthropic communities came together to celebrate the launch of this initiative. Community members welcomed new CAA staff member and manager of the Youth Opportunities Initiative, Meghan Arrigo.

“It is important for all of us to come together because the issue requires a greater and better response,” Ms. Gonzalez said. “Together we can make a larger impact.”

See attached photos:
Photo 1 - CAA President and CEO Dana Wolfe NaimarkPhoto 1 – CAA President and CEO Dana Wolfe Naimark

 

 

 

Photo 2 - L to R Monique Gilliam - Foster Youth Advocate and Meghan Arrigo - Manager of ArizonaYouthOpportunitiesPhoto 2 – L to R Monique Gilliam – Foster Youth Advocate and Meghan Arrigo – Children’s Action Alliance, Manager of Arizona Youth Opportunities Initiative

 

 

Photo 3 - L to R Monique Gilliam - Foster Youth Advocate and Belen Gonzalez - Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable TrustPhoto 3 – L to R Monique Gilliam – Foster Youth Advocate and Belen Gonzalez – Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, Program Officer – Arizona

 

 

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The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust seeks to help people in need, especially women, children and families; to protect animals and nature; and to enrich community life in the metropolitan areas of Indianapolis and Phoenix. www.ninapulliamtrust.org

Children’s Action Alliance is an independent voice for Arizona children at the state capitol and in the community. CAA works to improve children’s health, education, and security through information and action. www.azchildren.org

Nina Scholars Deadline Approaching

The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust is seeking applicants for its scholarship program that brings the dream of a college education to candidates who face many life challenges and are often overlooked by college scholarship programs. If you know of anyone who may benefit from this opportunity, please pass it along. More than a dozen scholarship recipients will comprise the 13th cohort of Nina Scholars at Arizona State University or Maricopa County Community Colleges.

There are three targeted populations:
– Adults, ages 25 or older, with dependents.
– College-age youths and adults with physical disabilities.
– Young adults, 18-25 years old, who have lived in foster care and are responsible for their own financial support.

Applications are due March 1 for MCCC and April 1 for ASU.

For more information about applying to the Nina Mason Pulliam Legacy Scholars program, visit: www.ninapulliamtrust.org/nina-scholars.

Introducing the Arizona Youth Opportunities Initiative!

Children’s Action Alliance and the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust recently launched a new initiative crafted to help youth who have been living in foster care make successful transitions to adulthood. The Arizona Youth Opportunities Initiative will inventory and evaluate existing services for youth who are leaving the foster care system, recommend services that might be networked together, find gaps in support services, and create new opportunities for foster care “graduates” to move on to higher education and life-long success.

Meghan Arrigo, the newest addition to the CAA team, will head up the initiative. She has already been hard at work the last few weeks laying the groundwork for our successful launch and we are pleased to have her on board.

Click here to read our press release announcing the new Initiative.

Photo 1 - CAA President and CEO Dana Wolfe Naimark

 

 

 

 

Photo 2 - L to R Monique Gilliam - Foster Youth Advocate and Meghan Arrigo - Manager of ArizonaYouthOpportunities

 

 

 

 

Photo 3 - L to R Monique Gilliam - Foster Youth Advocate and Belen Gonzalez - Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust

  

 

Youth Incarceration Drops Dramatically in Arizona

Arizona’s rate of confining young people in secure facilities has dropped by 57 percent over a 13-year period while crime rates have continued to fall, according to a new report from The Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Youth Incarceration BadgeThe new KIDS COUNT data snapshot, Reducing Youth Incarceration in the United States, reports that the number of young people in secure juvenile facilities in Arizona on a single day fell to 1,092 in 2010, from 1,869 in 1997. This downward trend, documented in data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement, was faster in Arizona than in all but two states in the country.

This trend is good news for kids, public safety, and taxpayers. Research repeatedly shows that a high rate of youth incarceration is both expensive and ineffective in reducing recidivism, especially for youth who have never committed a violent offense. 

Arizona leaders in the courts, juvenile corrections, behavioral health and community-based youth services are working together to keep this positive trend going and make sure the right kids get to the right services at the right time. One current effort focuses on improving outcomes for youth who are in both the juvenile justice system and the foster care system. Arizona also participates with The Annie E. Casey Foundation in the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative to develop more effective options for kids who need help.

Tax Rankings

Arizona continues to be a low tax and fee state. For 2010, Arizona ranks 46th for combined state and local taxes and fees, a decrease from 43rd in 2009. Looking at the different types of taxes, Arizona’s ranking ranges from 45th for other taxes to 10th highest for general sales taxes. As the table below shows, no state is highest in all types of taxes, nor is any state lowest. Alaska, for instance, ranks highest for corporate income taxes, other taxes and miscellaneous revenues, but ranks lowest for general sales taxes.

20 years of tax cuts mean Arizonans are paying 22% less in taxes per $100 of personal income than we were in 1991. With one exception, Arizona’s legislature has passed tax cuts every year since 1990. The individual income tax rate has been cut by 35%. The corporate income tax rate is currently 25% lower than it was in 1990. It will begin phasing down next year so that by 2018 the corporate income tax rate will be 47% lower than it was in 1990. An increasing number of tax credits for both individual and corporate income tax filers have also reduced tax liability. Only the sales tax has seen an increase as the result of two voter-approved increases – the 0.6% increase directed to K-12 education, passed in 2001, and the temporary 1% increase that became effective in June 2010 and is scheduled to expire in May 2013.

tax rankings chart

HCR 2021 Would Bring the TABOR Failure to Arizona

accounting machineThis bill asks the voters to replace Arizona’s current constitutional spending limit – based on the state’s total personal income – with a crippling limit based only on changes in general population and inflation. Over the last decade legislators from both political parties have repeatedly rejected TABOR because it is so dangerous.

Read the fact sheet for HCR 2021 here.

Another TABOR Bill Pops Up

We’ve got another zombie bill on our hands! This TABOR bill, HCR 2021, asks the voters to replace Arizona’s current constitutional spending limit – based on the state’s total personal income – with a crippling limit based only on changes in general population and inflation. The resolution was passed in its first hearing, in the Federalism and Fiscal Responsibility Committee, by a 5-3 vote, split along party lines.

Read the fact sheet on this latest TABOR threat and stay on the lookout, because we will need your help to defeat this one.

Opening Doors to College Degrees

CAA supports SB 1208, sponsored by Senators Driggs, Landrum Taylor, and Murphy. SB1208 will waive tuition payments for teens enrolled in community college or a state university after available federal and state tuition assistance grants are applied. Youth who were in foster care at age 16 can qualify. The bill has passed both the Senate Education and Appropriations Committees unanimously. Senators gave special recognition to the six foster alumni who testified, sharing their own experiences and their aspirations for other youth transitioning from foster care. The bill now awaits a final vote in the Senate before it moves on to the House.

Prevention Efforts Will Protect Children and Slow Down the Growing Need for Foster Care

prevention efforts chartSince 2009, the economic crash has squeezed families with extreme stress and state budget cuts have left families with very few places to turn for help. The result has been skyrocketing growth in the number of children suffering from neglect and the number living in foster care. The growth in foster care is traumatic for children, expensive for taxpayers, and overwhelming for the state Child Protective Services (CPS) system. Targeted prevention efforts can slow down the growth and preserve families.

Click Here for the Fact Sheet.