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Student Threat Assessment: Virginia Study Finds Progress, Areas to Improve

Online Dispute Resolution: Perspectives to Support Successful Implementation and Outcomes in Court Proceedings


State Approaches to Addressing Student Mental Health

Latino Inclusion in the Digital Economy

Experiences and Coping Strategies of College Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic


2020 Boating Accident Statistical Report

Innovative and Integrative Best Management Practices for Surface and Groundwater Protection

Annual Survey of Public Employment & Payroll Summary Report: 2020


Deaths: Leading Causes for 2018

Assessment of the Orange County, California, Homeless Mentally Ill Outreach and Treatment Services

May 28, 2021


Formal threat assessment programs are gaining traction in schools, but research on their impact has lagged. Threat assessment is a systematic approach to violence prevention designed to distinguish serious threats — defined as behaviors or communications in which a person poses a threat of violence — from threats that are not serious. A recent study of student threat assessment efforts in Virginia’s K-12 public schools, sponsored by the National Institute of Justice, found progress in resolving threats without further incident or resorting to suspension or expulsion of students from school. At the same time, the research identified key threat assessment program areas in need of improvement. Virginia law requires K-12 schools to conduct threat assessments. In the study, the researchers tested a threat assessment model developed by the University of Virginia. The project was the first to examine statewide use of threat assessment and identify some challenges faced by Virginia schools. Recommendations from the report include: 1) there should be a state training requirement for members of a school threat assessment team; 2) schools should provide students, parents and staff an orientation to threat assessment practice and the needs for threat reporting; 3) schools should provide evidence that they have an active threat assessment team; and 4) school divisions should conduct an annual evaluation of the quality of each school’s threat assessment practices.

Source: Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice

Online dispute resolution (ODR) provides a forum for court matters to be resolved through a public-facing digital space as opposed to through in-person court proceedings. Early court ODR adopters implemented these programs with small claims, eviction proceedings, traffic cases, and other selected court matters as a means to address rising case volumes and tightening budgets while also expanding access to justice for populations that might not have ready access to courthouses. In 2020, as courthouses and other public and private in-person facilities throughout the United States closed in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the need for virtual options to keep cases moving and administer justice accelerated significantly, as did the willingness of court stakeholders to consider and implement ODR for a wider variety of legal matters. The National Institute of Justice convened a virtual panel in May 2020 on ODR and other virtual platforms for case navigation and resolution. The ODR panel members discussed issues relating to the design and implementation of ODR programs and platforms, strategies to improve access to justice, opportunities to engage potential ODR users, and need for the rigorous research and evaluation of ODR programs. The panel members found that ODR can be a tool for replicating in-person court processes, but it also provides an opportunity to reimagine how to perform some processes better. Additionally, they found that ODR could remove access-to-justice barriers, but the potential barriers to engagement also need to be better understood.

Source: RAND Corporation


Since the beginning of 2019, the Education Commission of the States has tracked more than 600 bills related to student mental and behavioral health across nearly every state. More than 30 states enacted at least 72 bills. In that same period, governors across the country have identified student mental health and wellness as emerging or priority issues for their states. There are many ways to support student mental health in educational settings across the multi-tiered continuum of services, from promotion of positive mental health and wellness to treatment services. Recent state action has focused primarily on the following areas: 1) Mental health and wellness curricula; 2) Suicide prevention programs and services; 3) Staff training and professional development; 4) Mental health screening; 5) Mental health professional staffing ratios; and 6) School-based mental health programs and services. Many states have adopted policies intended to help prevent student suicide through programs that include awareness, intervention, support services, training and partnerships. For example, Oregon and Utah took a statewide approach to planning and implementing suicide prevention, while Wisconsin created a grant program for individual schools. Some state policymakers have established task forces or commissions to help inform their strategies to address student health and well-being. Others have taken similarly high-level approaches to addressing parts of the multi-tiered continuum to provide comprehensive school mental health services. For example, Texas enacted S.B. 11 in 2019 requiring the state education agency to develop a mental health rubric that identifies resources for training to support student mental health; school-based prevention and intervention services; and school-based mental health providers, among other components. The agency is also required to develop a statewide plan for student mental health, including goals for increasing access to school-based interventions. Providing student mental health services and supports has been a focus for state education leaders for many years. States have addressed student mental health across the continuum to promote positive behavioral health, prevent mental health challenges, identify students in need, and provide school-based intervention and treatment to support students.

Source: Education Commission of the States

The pandemic has accelerated the nation’s move toward integrating technology into all aspects of the U.S. workforce. To remain competitive in this rapidly evolving landscape, workers in nearly every occupation and industry must have some level of digital skills. Business owners also need enhanced technology to adapt to the changing economy, including an ability to transform many services they once offered in person to an online environment. With Latinos representing a large and growing percentage of both the U.S. workforce and the country’s business owners, they are poised to be a major contributor to the country’s economic rebuilding efforts. To realize this potential, Latino workers and business owners need targeted support to build their digital acumen and skills. This will require new policies, practices, and programs across the government, business and finance, philanthropy, workforce training, nonprofit, and academic sectors that are uniquely tailored to the needs of these workers. This report includes recommended actions for policymakers, workforce training programs, businesses, colleges, and financial institutions.

Source: Aspen Institute

An emerging literature documents the many challenges faced by college students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Little is known, however, about how students responded to the adversity. Focusing on two large Canadian universities, the authors provide some of the first evidence on the coping strategies students reported and the relationships between their endorsement of specific coping strategies and their subsequent well-being. Students focused on compensating for a lack of structure by creating new routines, maintaining social connections, and trying new activities. Conditional on baseline problems indexes, students who initially endorsed social connectedness as a strategy score significantly higher on a comprehensive well-being index five to twelve weeks later.

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

Government Operations

This report is compiled by the Boating and Waterways Section of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission’s (FWC) Division of Law Enforcement. Most of the data contained in this report is gathered from boating accident investigative reports submitted by FWC officers and marine law enforcement partners. Florida leads the nation with a total number of 985,005 registered vessels in 2020. There were 836 reportable boating accidents in 2020. Collison with vessel was the leading type of accident with a total of 224 (27%). Towed watersport activities were involved in 23 accidents, resulting in 9 fatalities and 37 injuries. Paddle/human powered craft (canoes, kayaks, rowboats, paddleboards) were involved in 14 accidents resulting in 14 fatalities and 1 injury (11 kayaks, 1 canoe, 3 rowboats). May 2020 was the month with the highest number of accidents (120). Monroe County reported the highest number of accidents and injuries (99 total accidents with nine fatalities and 52 injuries).. Overall, the rate of injury was 54 injuries per 100,000 registered vessels. Most, 69%, of the operators involved in fatal accidents had no formal boater education.

Source: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Florida lakes, rivers, and springs are vital sources for human and environmental health, agriculture, recreation, and tourism. Many activities generate pollutants that can damage water bodies. Fertilizers and nutrients carried by rain runoff to local waters bring excess nutrients and promote excessive plant growth that depletes oxygen for fish and other aquatic life. Florida Department of Transportation researchers developed innovative methods to evaluate landscapes designed to reduce nutrient impacts on surface and groundwater. They also tested and evaluated nutrient-reducing materials that can be used in these landscaping plans. To explore innovative uses of engineered media, five novel chemically activated media were developed and tested for nutrient removal and recovery. Inclusion of bio-sorption activated media filters within roadway shoulder vegetated filter strips was found to effectively remediate nitrogen when subjected to controlled testing at field scale under a range of hydrologic conditions. The best management practice Trains model, widely applied to the permitting, planning, and design of storm-water practices, was overhauled to integrate runoff discharged to surface and groundwater, facilitate complex catchment configurations, and ease the user experience, all with continued support of regulatory agencies. The Trains model is a computer program that predicts average annual nutrient loading from storm-water system. Finally, a groundwater flow and nutrient transport model was developed within a region of complex karst hydrogeology and used to explore integrated processes of storm-water runoff, surface water, and groundwater nutrient transport. This model was specifically applied to the Silver Springs spring-shed area. The modelling study found that the maximum cumulative water quality benefits to Silver Springs from many individual bio-sorption activated media-based practices may be negligible. A critical knowledge gap regarding the relative nutrient remediation potential of bio-sorption activated media versus soils of variable properties should be addressed before making investments into bio-sorption activated media-based practices.

Source: Florida Department of Transportation

In March 2020, state and local governments employed 19.8 million people, an increase of 0.3% from the 2019 figure of 19.7 million. Nationally, local government workers comprised the majority of the state and local government workforce with 14.3 million employees (72.1%). In comparison, state governments employed 5.5 million workers (27.9 %). Of the total 19.8 million employed, 15.1 million were classified as full-time and 4.7 million as part-time. Full-time employment by state governments increased 0.8% to 3.9 million, while full-time employment by local governments increased 1.2% to 11.1 million. The number of part-time state government employees decreased 2.4% to 1.6 million, and part-time local government employees decreased 1.7% to 3.1 million. Education, hospitals, and police protection constitute the largest functional categories of state and local governments. In March 2020, 13.4 million people were employed on a full- or part-time basis in a capacity related to these functions. The remaining 6.4 million employees worked in other functional categories. Education, the single largest functional category for state and local government (which includes elementary and secondary, higher, and other education), employed 11.2 million people. Among those public education employees, 8.3 million worked at the local government level, primarily in elementary and secondary education. State governments employed another 2.9 million education employees, mostly in higher education. The next largest functional category, hospitals, employed 1.1 million state and local government employees. Of those employees, 0.7 million worked at the local government level, and 0.5 million worked at the state government level. Police protection, which includes persons with power of arrest as well as other police support staff, accounted for 1.0 million workers for state and local governments. Local level governments employed 0.9 million of all police protection workers, and 0.1 million worked at the state government level.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Health and Human Services

In 2018, the 10 leading causes of death were, in rank order: diseases of heart; malignant neoplasms; accidents (unintentional injuries); chronic lower respiratory diseases; cerebrovascular diseases; Alzheimer disease; diabetes mellitus; influenza and pneumonia; nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis; and intentional self-harm (suicide). They accounted for 73.8% of all deaths occurring in the United States. Differences in the rankings are evident by age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin. In 2018, males had a higher relative burden of mortality from unintentional injuries, which was the third leading cause of death for this group, accounting for 7.4% of deaths, but the sixth leading cause for females, accounting for 4.3% of deaths. Females had a higher relative burden of mortality from stroke, which ranked third and accounted for 6.2% of all female deaths, but ranked fifth for males and accounted for 4.3% of all male deaths. The leading cause of death for the population aged 1 to 44 was unintentional injuries. The relative burden of mortality from this cause was far greater at younger ages, accounting for 31.8% of all deaths for age group 1 to 9, 38.3% of deaths for age group 10 to 24, and 34.0% of deaths for age group 25 to 44. In contrast, unintentional injuries was the third leading cause of death for age group 45–64 (8.7% of deaths) and the seventh leading cause for age groups 65 and over and 85 and over (2.7% of deaths each). Leading causes of infant death for 2018 were, in rank order: congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities; disorders related to short gestation and low birth weight, not elsewhere classified; newborn affected by maternal complications of pregnancy; Sudden infant death syndrome; accidents (unintentional injuries); newborn affected by complications of placenta, cord and membranes; bacterial sepsis of newborn; diseases of the circulatory system; respiratory distress of newborn; and neonatal hemorrhage.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The California Department of Health Care Services awarded the Orange County Health Care Agency a Homeless Mentally Ill Outreach and Treatment grant in late 2018. The agency partnered with Telecare to create intensive outreach and mobile mental health treatment components within its existing Full Service Partnership contract funded through the Mental Health Services Act. The goal was to increase access to behavioral and mental health services and housing for people with serious mental illness who were also experiencing homelessness and had not been engaged in services. The agency and Telecare began offering services in April 2019, with outreach efforts continuing through November 2021 and treatment services continuing through December 2021. Starting in March 2020, the Urban Institute conducted a year-long assessment of the implementation and outcomes of these services. This report describes those services and outlines the assessment’s methodology and findings. Agency staff identified several barriers to engagement in meeting the short- and long-term goals of clients. For example, working with a transient population made it difficult to find and maintain contact with clients. Staff and clients both noted a general lack of trust in county-based treatment, which created some challenges for outreach and engagement. In addition, attaining accessible housing and income supports for clients with physical disabilities was a challenge. Further, services were disrupted by the COVID pandemic, which affected staff members’ ability to engage in face-to-face interactions and conduct engagement and service delivery activities.

Source: Urban Institute

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