At a time when millions of our children are already suffering from poverty, from domestic abuse, from a school-to-prison-pipeline and a broken juvenile justice system, how can it be that we also are allowing over five million children to be traumatized by the loss of parents caught in the hysteria of mass incarceration?
If we don't incarcerate young people in conflict with the law, what do we do with them? The answer is simple: We care for and invest in our young people; resource families and communities to safely hold youth accountable; invest in each young person's success, and; address the root causes of youth crime in the communities where the youth live, all in the context of their homes and neighborhoods.
The Laura and John Arnold Foundation has announced it is setting up a new Evidence-Based Policy and Innovation division in Washington. Its purpose will be to encourage policy makers to utilize evidence and data in their decision making. But not just encourage. According to the press release, it wants evidence and data to be "the primary factor" in policy makers' decisions.
When you consider that 84% of foster youth say that they want to go to college and only 20% graduate from high school, leaving only a small fraction who actually ever graduate from college, the statistics above represent a monumental failure of the educational system for the children served by foster care.