Dispatch from Abroad
Rewrite the Future is the first truly global campaign for Save the Children. The campaign seeks to improve educational opportunities for all children. More than 37 million children can't go to school because they live in countries affected by conflict, and this accounts for more than half of the children worldwide who don't attend school.
Photo courtesy Save the Children
A year ago, Save the Children launched this campaign, and with it, a global conversation about the link between education and peace: what kind of education can promote peace, and how do we make sure that children receive the quality education that will help them build peace? The culminating event for this was an international conference scheduled for March 11 and 12 in Sarajevo, Where Peace Begins: The Pivotal Role of Education for Lasting Peace.
As part of the campaign, in conjunction with its 125th anniversary, international jeweler Bulgari has designed a sterling silver ring with Save the Children's logo on the inside. Proceeds from sales will be part of the 10 million euros Bulgari has pledged to the Rewrite the Future campaign this year.
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The Malaysian national news agency, Bernama, reported recently that the cabinet was expected to approve a new National Child Care Protection Policy, which would be implemented by the middle of this year.
"Its approval is important because the policy states very clearly who is responsible for the caring of children, and what they should do," said Woman, Family, and Community Development Minister Datuk Dr. Ng Yen Yen, according to Bernama. "Those responsible are parents, care providers like kindergarten teachers, and doctors. When they receive or see a child abuse case, they have to report to the Welfare Department and police," she continued. The new policy includes a fine of 5,000 ringgit (about $1,350 currently) and/or two years in jail for anyone found guilty of failing to report a child abuse case.
Dr. Ng said that there were 228 child abuse cases and 12 child neglect cases reported between December 2007 and December 2008 via the NUR Line, a hotline for reporting domestic violence and child abuse, Bernama reported.
Yoursphere describes itself as the social network that puts safety first. Exclusively for youth ages 9 to 18, Yoursphere features topical "spheres" where members can discuss common interests. Founded by a mother concerned about online safety, Yoursphere verifies member gender and age, and requires parent/ guardian consent for members' participation. The site confirms parents/ guardians identities, and ensures they do not have status as sex offenders. No adults are allowed to post profiles on the site, ensuring that members are only interacting with their peers. Participating in contests on the site allows members to win rewards and scholarships. Visit yoursphere.com to learn more.
Ohio's statewide automatic child welfare information system (SACWIS) is now operating in all 88 counties in the state. The implementation process began in late 2006 and was finished in the first few days of this year. Dynamics Research Corporation, a technology management services company that works with federal and state governments, was active in converting Ohio's state and county data to be compatible with the new system. Ohio's child welfare system is county-administered. SACWIS is a fully web-based system for caseworkers and managers to follow children from intake to case closure, including adoption, foster care, and child protection cases.
In the last few years a new assignment has become popular in New York City schools: yoga. Thanks mostly to one teacher, Martha Gold, yoga has spread to nearly half of the city's District 75, schools and classes that serve students with developmental, behavioral, or psychological disabilities.
An article in City Limits Weekly followed Gold, a physical therapist who teaches in the Bronx. Several years ago, she introduced a few poses to four students, and now has almost 50 in a class. Gold offered workshops for other special education professionals, and they in turn set up yoga programs for more students.
Many of these students have limited range of motion, but none of them lack enthusiasm. For people of average health, yoga can improve strength, flexibility, and relaxation. For the children in District 75, yoga also heightens sensory awareness, vocalization skills, and breathing capacity. The exercise also lessens anxiety because the brain releases serotonin and dopamine.
"Parents are so helpful in taking care of children in any other sphere of life, why do we not include them when it comes to the treatment for anorexia?" Daniel La Grange posed this question in "Extreme Measures," a special health report in The Washington Post that examined the Maudsley approach to anorexia nervosa. Named for the British hospital where it was developed, the Maudsley approach does include parents. The family becomes critical to overcoming the illness, which is viewed as rendering youth unable to begin eating, rather than choosing not to eat. La Grange, one of the original developers, is director of the Eating Disorder Clinics at the University of Chicago.
The approach consists of three phases: in the first, the family works together to help the youth return to a healthy weight; the second begins to return control of food and eating back to the teen; in the third, a therapist helps the adolescent resolve any issues and start a healthy adulthood.
A report from Multnomah County, Oregon, examined the achievement gap between white and black children through a local lens. According to an article in The Oregonian, the Black Parent Initiative commissioned the report. Typically, studies of the achievement gap look at the percentages of students who meet state benchmark scores at specific points in their education, but this report also chronicled students' progress over time. The study showed in the local area, black children are consistently about 8 points behind white children on achievement tests, suggesting that all children learn and improve at similar rates. The conclusion was that very early preventive action may eliminate the achievement gap.
First Focus examines the long-term effects of childhood poverty in a new report, The Cost of Doing Nothing. The current recession is predicted to drive an additional 3 million children into poverty. With research that indicates a childhood spent in poverty leads to an adult earning 39% less than the median income, and that a poor child loses a quarter of a million dollars in health quality over a lifetime, First Focus concludes that the future loss for the United States will exceed $1.7 trillion. View more information and download the report.
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