Atlanta Police have arrested one teen and are still looking for another after a string of three armed robberies last night around Grant Park.
The spree started around 10 p.m. when, police say, two black males parked a scooter near the intersections of Woodland and Eden avenues. The passenger hopped off the bike and, while pointing a silver revolver, approached a pedestrian and demanded his cell phone and cash.
The department's entire investigative unit, including its supervisor, was suspended with pay last month after a federal survey found that a number of Georgia's juvenile detention facilities ranked among the worst in the nation for instances of sexual abuse. At the time DJJ found evidence that at least 20 cases - some dating back to 2012 - had not been investigated in a timely manner.
Since then the number of still open investigations under the DJJ's jurisdiction has grown to roughly 700 covering the past 18 months, DJJ Communications Director Jim Shuler said in a statement (PDF). Department policy dictates all cases be closed within a 45-day period. Of the 700 unresolved cases, 275 included "some sexual connotation" in the original report.
One out of every four kids in Georgia lives in poverty, though the state's children have shown some improvements in health and education in recent years, according to a new report measuring the well-being of our nation's youth.
Georgia continues to struggle with ensuring positive outcomes for kids when compared with many other parts of the nation. According to the latest Kids Count Data Book - an annual report released by Annie E. Casey Foundation - Georgia dropped behind six other states since 2012, ranking 43 out of 50 and essentially erasing a boon in performance seen last year.
"We've actually improved or held steady in most indicators within our state," Georgia Family Connection Partnership executive director Gaye Smith said in a statement. The GAFCP helped the Casey Foundation collect Georgia-specific data for the report.
"So we are making gains - just not as quickly as the rest of the nation," Smith said.
Compared with 2005, more kids are graduating high school on time, preschool enrollment is up, and overall kids are living healthier lives - though the state did see a slight increase in the number of low birth weights.
A sluggish economy continues to have the biggest negative impact. Compared with four years ago, nearly 25 percent more kids have parents that lack full-time employment. That has contributed to a rise in the number of kids living in poverty, some 26 percent in 2011 - or about 647,000 kids - up from 20 percent just six years earlier.
Nationwide, about 23 percent of kids were living in poverty in 2011, the year for which the latest data is available.
Georgia's ranking is comparable with much of the South. Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, South Carolina, and Mississippi are also among the 10 worst performing states. New Mexico showed the worst results, while New Hampshire topped the list.
The report looks at 16 performance areas including economic well-being, education, family and community, and health to calculate the annual rankings. You can dig through all the national and state-level data online if you so choose, or check out Georgia's profile here.
Georgia's Department of Juvenile Justice late yesterday suspended 19 investigators and the unit's former chief after it revealed that more than 20 unfinished cases of sexual abuse allegations were not investigated in a timely manner.
"It is a disturbing breach of confidence and fundamentally unacceptable," Commissioner Avery Niles said in a release (PDF). "These investigators have a duty to protect our youth and employees and to uphold the most basic standards of professional behavior."
The move came barely a week after a federal report showed that four Georgia juvenile detention facilities ranked among the worst in the nation for instances of sexual abuse. Paulding County's short-term lockup topped the list. The department launched a special advisory committee in response to the report. Its findings led to yesterday's suspensions.
For the second year in a row, Georgia lawmakers have come together to hold hands around a package of reforms for the state's justice system. If the research holds true, the changes promise to save Georgia wads of money, decrease the number of reoffending criminals, and move our collective psyche further away from a decades-long "tough on crime" approach that often erroneously equated longer prison sentences with crime reduction.
Yesterday, state senators followed in the steps of the Georgia House of Representatives, unanimously voting to approve House Bill 242, a piece of legislation that's considered the first large-scale revision to Georgia's juvenile justice system in more than four decades.
Once signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal, the revisions would give judges more discretion in sentencing young criminals, provide more than $5 million to fund community-based programs for some low-level offenders, and cut juvenile incarceration costs by a projected $88 million over the next five years, among other things.
While adoption rates have improved, Georgia's Department of Human Services - which oversees the Division of Children and Family Services (DFCS) and the state's child welfare system - made little to no overall progress in improving Fulton and DeKalb counties' foster system in the first six months of 2012.
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