Policy Corner: October policy updates with Janet Forbush

Written by Janet Forbush, Senior Advisor with the Center for the Advancement of Mentoring

October 2017

On October 8 the Trump Administration introduced principles for reform of the U.S. immigration system putting children and families at risk. The release of these principles comes on the heels of the announcement from the Administration made last month to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program impacting nearly 800,000 immigrant youth and young adults, about a quarter of whom are parents.  While it is premature to gauge the long-term impact of these proposed policy shifts, it is essential that readers of The Chronicle be informed of the details of these changes as they continue to work in mentoring programs serving immigrant children and families.

Federal Developments

The policy proposals announced earlier this week include further expansion of immigration enforcement, a significant reduction of overall immigration, and a set of penalties for local communities that choose to limit collaboration with federal immigration authorities.  In addition, as currently framed, there would be a significant roll back of critical protections for vulnerable asylum-seeking children and a drastic cut in the number of refugees.

The response of some House Democrats to these extremist proposals has raised the specter of withholding support for must-pass spending legislation later this year.  House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) characterized the framework put forward by the White House as a “complete non-starter.”  By contrast, Senators David Perdue (R-GA) and Tom Cotton (R-ARK) are among Republicans who are in agreement with the suggested changes.

When Congress reconvenes in mid-October following the Columbus Day recess, members need to hear from readers of The Chronicle about the havoc that has already been wrought on immigrant families and their children by the change in DACA as well as the more recently announced shifts. The clock is ticking given that work permits for DACA recipients will begin expiring in March.

An upcoming webinar scheduled on October 18 by the Alliance For Excellent Education will address Students Without Status: Understanding and Protecting the Rights of Undocumented Immigrant Students.  To register visit https://all4ed.org/webinar-event/oct-18-2017/?token=2df6fd9ead7da9bd6d0725572df55cf0

State and City Features

Responding to Natural Disasters

In the wake of the tumultuous hurricane season, several states are enduring what will be a long process of rebuilding cities and communities.  Despite the travesty of these natural disasters, there are numerous examples of agencies and institutions reaching out to lend support. Several higher education institutions have stepped up to provide safe havens for students and local citizens throughout the storms.  For example, the University of Michigan stepped up to open housing early for new students coming in from Texas who were affected by Hurricane Harvey.  The University of Alabama made an effort to identify and reach out to over 600 students who were affected by Harvey and provide support to them.

Some Puerto Rican families and their children have relocated to Florida recently finding safe haven in Orlando and Miami.  School district personnel in those cities have been working to identify school teachers from Puerto Rico who can be hired to work with relocated children in those communities.

Nevada’s Approach to Reducing Recidivism/Improving Outcomes for Youth in Juvenile Justice System

Like most states across the country, Nevada currently has fewer youth in its juvenile justice system than at any point in the last decade.  A majority of those youth are now being supervised in the community rather than in correctional or residential treatment facilities.

The unique innovation adopted in Nevada is the result of a partnership with the National Reentry Resource Center (NRRC), The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).  Nevada launched Improving Outcomes for Youth: a Statewide Juvenile Justice Initiative (IOYouth) which included a statewide assessment of their juvenile justice system, the policy options to improve support for youth involved in the system, and, legislative and appropriations changes that needed to be adopted.

Nevada’s IOYouth task force reached consensus on policy options that would be necessary to ensure that youth in the juvenile justice system would be supported with appropriate levels of supervision and services based on individual risks and needs.  The result was legislation sponsored by Governor Sandoval  codified in AB472 which included an additional $1.6 million for the FY 2017-2010 biennium.  The legislation was passed by the state legislature and signed into law by Governor on June 16, 2017.

A key component of the legislation is the requirements that all state (non-Medicaid) funding for juvenile justice services is used only for evidence-based programs and services and, the development of a five-year strategic plan to increase the use of evidence-based programs and services.

Recommended Fall Reading and Movie

Joel L. Fleishman’s latest book on philanthropy is scholarly, practical, and energizing about how we can enhance our skillset in approaching and working with charitable foundations.  In a time when communities need more rather than less money to support mentoring and youth development programs, tapping into an expanded circle of charitable foundations is worth exploring.  Putting Wealth to Work – Philanthropy for Today or Investing for Tomorrow, published by Public Affairs is available in hardcover and ebook formats.

A movie coming to theaters on October 13 is MARSHALL, the legendary first African American Supreme Court justice and the lawyer who argued Brown v. Board of Education.  The inspirational life story of Justice Thurgood Marshall would perhaps be of keen interest to mentors and their mentees as fall activities are getting underway.  In celebration of the man, OZY is launching the Modern Marshall Awards, looking for individuals who personify Marshall’s spirit.  The first winner is Maura McInerney, an attorney and child advocate for Philadelphia’s Education Law Center.  Her three decades of advocacy work have been directed toward the needs of homeless and foster children.  (http://www.elc-pa.org/)