Roundup: 7 NY DAs write op-ed for child trauma prevention; LA changes punitive approach to truancy; Calgary, Canada, getting grip on DV

The district attorneys of Queens, Richmond, Onondaga, Monroe, Kings, Bronx and New York counties wrote an op-ed in the New York Daily News supporting NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s request to the state for $5 million for the Nurse Family Partnership Program to help prevent child abuse. In New York, 77,000 children were abused or neglected in 2010. In part, the op-ed said: “Decades of research, beginning in Elmira, N.Y. in 1976, have demonstrated that mothers who volunteered to receive the home visiting service were half as likely to abuse or neglect their

kids compared to similar mothers who did not participate. Children whose mothers did not participate had more than twice as many convictions by age 19, concentrated among the females.”

In another example of how taking a solution-oriented approach trumps a punitive approach, the Los Angeles City Council changed its student daytime truancy law so that kids on their way to school aren’t hit with a ticket within the first 90 minutes of class, according to Krissy Clark’s report on NPR. Over five years, truancy officers wrote 47,000 tickets, each of which could be as much as $350. When they’re ticketed, kids can be handcuffed and searched. Blacks and Latinos received a disproportionate amount, and most tickets were written in low-income neighborhoods. Manuel Criollo, an organizer with L.A.’s Community Rights Campaign, discovered that cops were hanging out a bus stops to ticket students who were a few minutes late for class, even after a 45-minute two bus-ride commute. Under the new system, fines will be waived for the first two tickets, and counselors will be required to work with students to find solutions to get to class on time.

People in Calgary, Canada, believe they’re finally turning the tide on reducing domestic violence, 12 years after a special court was set up, according to Jason Van Rassel in the Calgary Herald. Although the number of complaints went up last year — to 16,500 from 15,789 in 2010 — the number of criminal charges decreased and recidivism rates are 30 percent of what they used to be. HomeFront Calgary is the coalition of police, prosecutors and local agencies behind the court, which offers “treatment to perpetrators who are willing to change and jailing the ones who aren’t, while at the same time ensuring shelter, protection and support for victims and children.”

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