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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 28, 2005

UI Center Supports Statewide Conference On Minority Youth Confinement

The fourth annual statewide conference on the problem of the disproportionate numbers of minority youth in Iowa's juvenile justice and child welfare systems will be held Thursday and Friday, Dec. 1 and 2, at the Downtown Holiday Inn in Des Moines. The event, "Investing in Iowa's Youth, Investing in Iowa's Future--Chapter 4: Systems in the Cycle," will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 1 and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Dec. 2.

Organized by the University of Iowa School of Social Work's DMC Resource Center, which is part of the National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice, the conference includes presentations from state and national leaders who will address a number of issues related to juvenile justice, child welfare, education and family and human services needs.

"Over-representation of minority youth in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems is a significant problem nationally, as well as in Iowa," said Brad Richardson, a research scientist in the UI School of Social Work and director of the center. "In addition to the DMC Resource Center's focus on the over-representation of minority youth detained or confined in secure detention facilities, secure correctional facilities, jails and lock ups, this year we are also paying special attention to linkages with child welfare and school systems. Recently we have found that minority students are also over-represented in school suspensions and being suspended from school correlates with involvement in the juvenile justice system."

With increased input from youth, including presentations from a variety of youth perspectives, this year's conference will examine the issues, explore potential solutions and facilitate learning about current efforts to address the problems.

In addition to Richardson, UI participants include Miriam Landsman, assistant professor of social work and executive director of the National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice, and Salome Raheim, associate professor and director of the UI School of Social Work. Other notable speakers include: Andre Collins, National Football League Players Association; Marilyn Grey, Grey Matter, Inc., in Seattle; Christy Sharp, Child Welfare League of America; Laurie Schaffner, University of Illinois-Chicago; Richard Braunstein, University of South Dakota, and Julia Charles and Emmanuel Garner, SAY SO, Inc., in Durham, N.C. The conference will also host a meeting of state DMC Coordinators from around the Midwest on Wednesday, Nov. 30, preceding the DMC Conference.

The DMC Resource Center serves statewide and community efforts to reduce the over-representation of minority youth in the juvenile justice system. Working with the Department of Human Services the Resource Center is also working to reduce over-representation in the child welfare system.

More information is available online:

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011,; Program: Brad Richardson, 319-335-4924