The number of U.S. children in foster care has dropped for the sixth straight year, falling to about 400,000 compared to more than 520,000 a decade ago, according to new federal figures demonstrating the staying power of reforms even amid economic turbulence.
The drop results primarily from a shift in the policies and practices of state and county child welfare agencies. Many have shortened stays in foster care, expedited adoptions and expanded preventive support for troubled families so more children avoid being removed from home in the first place.
The average length of stay in foster care has been reduced by more than 10 percent since 2002, according to the report. The mean stay is now 23.7 months.
Of the children in foster care as of Sept. 30, 52 percent were boys. Twenty-one percent were Hispanic, 27 percent black and 41 percent white; 104,236 of them were available for adoption.
Source: The Washington Post – Number of children in foster care drops for 6th straight year, to 400,000, despite hard times
An interesting update by Google which seems directly targeted at Amazon. These new Product Ads from Google will compete with Amazon’s commission model, and may come down to who has the better search.
With billions of dollars in revenue the stakes…
In the early days of Google, users would type in a query, we’d return ten blue links, and they’d move on happy. Today people want more. When searching for great local restaurants, people want places to eat right there on the results page, not another click or two away. It’s the same with hotels, flight options, directions and shopping.
Today we’re announcing a new initiative to improve our shopping experience over time–so that shoppers (your customers) can easily research purchases, compare different products, their features and prices, and then connect directly with merchants to make their purchase.
First, we are starting to transition Google Product Search in the U.S. to a purely commercial model built on Product Listing Ads. This new product discovery experience will be called Google Shopping and the transition will be complete this fall.
Ranking in Google Shopping, when the full transition is complete this fall, will be based on a combination of relevance and bid price–just like Product Listing Ads today.
In addition, merchants who want to stand out from the crowd can choose to participate in our new Google Trusted Stores program. Google Trusted Stores is a badge for e-commerce sites which gives users background on merchants—whatever their size—including ratings for on-time shipping and customer service. Google stands behind merchants that have earned the Google Trusted Stores badge with a $1,000 lifetime purchase protection guarantee per shopper.
Second, starting today we’ve also begun to experiment with some new commercial formats on Google.com that will make it easier for users to find and compare different products. These include larger product images that give shoppers a better sense of what is available and also the ability to refine a search by brand or product type.
For example, below is what stargazers could see on Google.com when searching for [telescopes], or for a specific product, such as [Celestron CPC 800].
The Wikimedia Foundation has decided to create a travel guide in the mold of its non-profit, user-written and search engine results-hogging Wikipedia.
The foundation’s board of trustees on July 11 approved a proposal to launch an advertisement-free travel guide and noted that 31 of the 48 administrators of the Internet Brands-owned Wikitravel have pledged to join forces with the Wikimedia Foundation’s travel guide website.
The foundation indicated that Wikitravel is the current leader in travel wikis, but its advertisements and monetization efforts may turn off travelers and would-be contributors.
In addition, the foundation argues that Internet Brands has failed to keep pace with the times and that Wikitravel suffers from a “lack of technical support/feature development.”
Jani Patokallio, a Wikitravel admin based in Melbourne, Australia, wrote about the editors’ mass exodus from Wikitravel, and told Skift that the situation there had reached “the boiling point.”
Source: Skift – Wikipedia Parent to Launch Travel Guide with Wikitravel Rebels