The plight of undereducated young people in New York City's welfare system is finally getting some public attention.
A New York Times editorial today calls on city officials to "do more to connect young adults on public assistance with educational programs that could help them succeed in the labor market." Citing the Community Service Society's recent report, Missed Opportunity (June 2011, PDF), the Times notes that many young people applying for public assistance are given incorrect information about eligibility; forced into ineffective job search programs rather than the educational opportunities that they request and to which they are entitled under state law; or even pulled out of education programs in which they already participate.
The Times concludes that such practices are "alarming given that a fifth of nearly 900,000 New Yorkers between the ages of 17 and 24 are both unemployed and out of school. Christine Quinn, the speaker of the City Council, has promised legislation to require the city to better screen young welfare applicants and direct them to appropriate services. That would be a good start."