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Delaware Governor: Jack Markell

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  Archived Posts From: 2010


What Happens When Youth Age Out of Foster Care?

Written on: August 24th, 2010 in Guest PostsHelping Our Neighbors

Secretary Vivian Rapposelli

Guest post from Vivian Rapposelli, Secretary of the Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families (DSCYF):

Over the course of three years (FY 06-09), 355 Delaware youth aged out of the foster care system. For many, this can be an intimidating time in their life as they try to reconcile their new-found freedom with the need to focus on very real, personal issues, without the support from family that most of us have:

Will I get a job?       Can I go to school?

How will I get around?     Where will I live?

Though there are programs and services available to help youth who age out of foster care, there hasn’t been a unified effort among State agencies to really look at the various needs of these young adults and determine how, as a State, we can better meet those needs and provide them with the necessary supports in order for them to realize success.

Until now.

Beginning in March, a pilot program began that is aimed at identifying the specific needs of youth aging out of the system, leading to the development of a comprehensive plan to ensure the youth receive appropriate support and services as they transition into adulthood.

Some areas of focus for the pilot are job training, college readiness and access, affordable housing, teen parenting issues and health care.

Joining the Children’s Department in this effort are the Departments of Education, Labor and Health and Social Services, as well as the Delaware State Housing Authority.  On August 4, these agencies signed an agreement that outlines our respective roles in providing necessary support and services.

This is a great step forward.

Another step came in the recent signing of Senate Bill 113, which provides extended jurisdiction, through Family Court, of youth aging out of foster care. This is a voluntary mechanism for youth who are provided services under the John H. Chafee Independence Act or the Fostering Connections and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008. It allows them to have a legal mechanism for Family Court review of the appropriateness of such services, which are provided from ages 18-21.

Our children are our future, our responsibility. By working collaboratively and providing additional support through our Court system, we are hopeful that they will realize greater success and feel more confident and secure in their new role as adults.

Want to join us to help Delaware children realize success?

Consider becoming a foster parent or adopting one of the many children in Delaware currently looking for a loving home. I encourage you to visit our online Heart Gallery to meet some of these beautiful and charismatic young men and women. Together, we can make a significant impact on their quality of life.

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Protecting Our Digital Society from the Next Generation of Outlaws

Written on: August 16th, 2010 in Effective & Efficient GovernmentGuest Posts

Last week, Delaware was honored to host one of only three national cyber-security training camps in 2010.

The United States Cyber Challenge Delaware Camp was held at Wilmington University with the support of the University of Delaware, Delaware Technical & Community College, the SANS Institute, and the Delaware Department of Technology and Information. More information on the camp can be found here.

The following opinion piece originally appeared in The News Journal.


By US Senator Thomas R. Carper and Governor Jack A. Markell

Senator Carper & Governor MarkellFor those of us who grew up before the age of the Internet, we can remember hearing stories about bank robbers that made them sound more like legends than the criminals they were. Outlaws like Jesse James, John Dillinger, and Bonnie and Clyde were idealized with a Robin Hood-esque persona. One of these infamous bank robbers, Willie Sutton, was allegedly asked why he robbed banks.

His reply? “Because that’s where the money is.”

Unfortunately, criminals today still prey on the innocent and cause chaos, but instead of busting into banks wearing masks and carrying guns, criminals carry a laptop and look for Wi-Fi “hotspots” to wreak havoc.  No longer do the bad guys have to spend countless hours developing a plan, staking out targets, and risking their lives to infiltrate physically a store, a bank, or even a top secret government facility.  Instead, hackers only have to use a high-speed internet connection and a little bit of knowledge to steal your money, your identity, or government or industry secrets half-way across the world.

This threatens your wallet, as well as our economic and national security.

This contraption can hack into anyone's bluetooth device.  The  inventor has even used when caught in traffic to break into the phone  calls of neighboring drivers and ask them to move over!Why?

Because American banks and companies are where the money is.

If you think cyber crime and cyber terrorism aren’t real, think again.

According to the FBI, in 2008 a wave of thieves fanned out across the globe and almost simultaneously walked off with more than $9 million within 12 hours using cloned credit card numbers they got by hacking a major credit card company in Atlanta, Georgia. Further, in 2009 Lockheed Martin and the Department of Defense lost plans to America’s future advanced jet fighter, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter – one that isn’t even mass produced yet – to suspected Chinese hackers.

Why is this happening? According to Jim Gosler, founding Director of the CIA’s Clandestine Information Technology Office, “There are about 1,000 people in the U.S. who have the specialized skills to operate effectively against these criminals at a world class level in cyber space. To be effective, we need 10,000 to 30,000.”

That’s why we are excited to join the Department of Defense, the FBI, the SANS Institute, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies in hosting the nation’s first-ever U.S. Cyber Challenge Summer Camps, located in California, New York, and right here in Delaware.

US Cyber Challenge Delaware Camp - Capture the Flag

Like a farm system in baseball, these cyber challenges are the training grounds for the next generation of cyber security experts. Selection isn’t based on what degree you have or what school you went to. Instead, it’s based on how good you are on the field of cyberspace. The summer camps serve almost as a preseason camp to see how well you can learn, adapt, and more importantly – defend America and Delaware from cyber attacks.

The goal of the U.S. Cyber Challenge and the summer camp in Delaware is to identify, train, and recruit “cyber guardians” whose skills are unparalleled in the world. These highly-trained individuals – all college students – will compete in a series of challenges on hacking, digital forensics, cyber security, and reverse engineering to see who the best and brightest are among them. Then we will train some of them to be world-class cyber-security experts with the help of volunteers from Wilmington University, the University of Delaware, and Delaware Technical and Community College.

Graduates of the summer camps will be some of the most sought after professionals in the country. They will be recruited for internships and jobs in agencies like the National Security Agency (NSA), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Department of Defense (DoD), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Or, they could end up working in the private sector defending some of our nation’s most critical infrastructures like the electric grid, our telecommunications network or our financial system.

US Cyber Challenge Delaware Camp - Group PhotoThis week, individuals in Delaware will be among the first class of cyber guardians to graduate from one of the country’s most competitive cyber security summer camps. In the coming months and years, the program will be expanded to more students, from more schools, in more states.

We are thrilled that this idea that began over a year and a half ago has developed into one of the country’s most exciting and important summer camps. Not many students can say when asked “what did you do this summer?” that they learned valuable skills that not only will help them get a high-quality job but will also enable them to safeguard some of our nation’s most valuable assets.

And it is a special point of pride that once again The First State will be leading the way in this critical national security effort. In order to keep America on the cutting edge in the 21st century, we need to invest time and money into programs like the U.S. Cyber Challenge to foster the kind of talent that can keep criminals, like the Willie Suttons of today’s world, out of our local banks and safely behind firewalls.

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Confronting Prescription Drug Abuse

Written on: July 16th, 2010 in Effective & Efficient Government

Yesterday, Delaware was honored to host the Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, R. Gil Kerkikowske, to mark another step on the difficult road to curbing prescription drug addiction.  It’s always encouraging to see state and the federal government working together, particularly when the issue is deadly serious.

Since 1999,  drug-related deaths have doubled nationwide, surpassing homicides, suicides and gunshot wounds as causes of death. This increase is largely due to the abuse of prescription painkillers.

This is a substantial national problem that requires coordinated local solutions to address. We need to continue sharing information to ensure that we find the most effective approach to dealing with a problem that has fueled skyrocketing national statistics and heartbreaking local tragedies.

Our new law, sponsored by Senators Brian Bushweller and Bethany Hall-Long, and Representatives Larry Mitchell and Melanie George, authorizes the creation of a database of prescription information from pharmacies.  This will help accomplish two things:

  1. Doctors will be able to check the database and screen for abuse before giving prescriptions for controlled substances.  This helps prevent “doctor shopping” by allowing to the doctor to see if a patient has similar prescriptions from other medical providers.
  2. Physicians can also easily verify that they are not prescribing drugs that could interact dangerously with existing prescriptions from other doctors.  This can save lives and improve health outcomes for anyone taking more than one prescription drug.

Other states have implemented similar prescription drug monitoring programs and are collecting and analyzing prescription data more effectively.  Now we will too.

The statistics are astounding.  From Office of National Drug Control Policy blog:

  • In recent years, the number of individuals who, for the first time, consumed prescription drugs for a non-medical purpose, exceeded the number of first-time marijuana users.
  • From 1997 to 2007 there was a 400% increase in treatment admissions for individuals primarily abusing prescription pain killers.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported recently that prescription and over-the-counter drugs were responsible for the 25% increase in drug-related emergency room visits between 2004 and 2008.
  • By 2008 emergency room visits for misused prescription and over-the-counter drugs were as common as emergency visits for use of illicit drugs such as cocaine and heroin.

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Governor Jack Markell’s Update

Written on: July 9th, 2010 in Job Creation

So far this summer, Delaware added thousands of new jobs. Some of this growth came from the success of existing Delaware companies and some resulted from the decisions of others to become Delaware companies.

We are committed to becoming the best place to start and grow a business, and we’re seeing results. Here are four exciting examples:

Who made the first moon spacesuit?

Cutting the Ribbon at ILC Dover!Delaware’s very own ILC Dover. Since 1947, ILC has been contributing to Delaware’s legacy of innovation.

In June, ILC secured a contract to field a Lighter-than-Air aerostat-based radar system to help safeguard our troops. To win this contract, ILC had to move quickly, so state and local agencies worked together to ensure efficiency. As a result, ILC just opened a new facility where 70 people will be employed.

“In concert with the State of Delaware and the City of Dover, we have been able to ramp up our production rate to our customer’s demands in a time frame believed to be unobtainable a few months ago.”

– Bill Wallach, President, ILC Dover

Why move a headquarters to Delaware?

Sallie Mae – the leading provider of student loans and administrator of college savings plans – chose to relocate to Delaware because of our skilled workforce, which understands their industry and is ready to get to work. When these new jobs arrive, they’ll find a government invested in job creation and committed to moving quickly.

“We appreciate the business spirit of officials at the state and local levels and that Delaware has made clear it will be a great place to grow our business.”

– Albert L. Lord, CEO, Sallie Mae

Here’s more on what brought Sallie Mae to our state.

Do companies like what they find in here?

TMI's Solar SystemTesting Machines Inc. (TMI) employees are experts on analyzing the quality of all kinds of things – and they like what they’ve discovered about us.

TMI, which manufactures physical property testing instruments, just moved from New York to New Castle. Their new plant employs 28 people, with 22 more workers coming soon. With a grant from the Green Energy Fund, TMI is also reducing their energy use by 80% by using cutting-edge systems installed by local contractors.

“It is really incredible what we have been able to accomplish with the help of both the local bank and State agencies, which have been efficient, effective, responsive, and timely.

– John Sullivan, President, The TMI Group of Companies”

What can you do with an old carpet?

Cutting the Ribbon for Modular Carpet Recycling!Modular Carpet Recycling (MCR) is turning old carpets into high-purity renewed nylon (Renewlon™) and 30 new jobs, while reducing waste in our landfills. MCR recently chose Delaware as the site of their new corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility.

To learn more about what Delaware has to offer ground-breaking entrepreneurs like MCR, check out this post from Alan Levin, Director of the Delaware Economic Development Office.

“Delaware is a great place for us to build our initial facility and headquarters. We found a talented workforce, combined with an excellent site at a central location and a government that knows what companies need to create jobs.”

– Ron Simonetti, CEO of MCR

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Hope You’re Not Driving Right Now…

Written on: July 8th, 2010 in Helping Our Neighbors

“It’s like Russian roulette every time you pick up your phone in the car.” – Oprah Winfrey

On Tuesday, I signed legislation that restricts the use of cell phones and bans texting while driving.

Signing the billsStarting January 2, 2011, you may not use a hand-held cell phone, send or read text messages and emails, use a computer or browse websites while driving.  You could be fined $50 for the first offense and $100-200 for a second offense.

Here’s a fact sheet that outlines the new law and lists exemptions, including people who use a mounted, two-way communication device as part of their jobs; FCC-licensed amateur radio operators; and individuals reporting emergencies.

“Texting while driving can be more dangerous than drinking and driving.” – Bayhealth Trauma Medical Director Dr. Ed Alexander

The danger of distracted driving has been tragically clear.  Here are some facts from

  • Nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted driver, and more than half a million were injured. (NHTSA)
  • Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
  • Using a cell phone while driving delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (Source: University of Utah)

In Delaware, there were 230 crashes in 2009 that involved the use of a cell phone.  As of last month, 94 crashes have involved the use of a cell phone and another 17 have involved texting in 2010.  Countless others go unreported.

For every two seconds you take your eyes off the road, you are two times more likely to get in a car accident. AAA

Our state is the 30th to ban texting while driving, and the 8th to ban the use of hand-held cell phones behind the wheel. Rep. Darryl Scott spearheaded the effort, with Sen. Brian Bushweller and Sen. Karen Peterson sponsoring the bill in the Senate. Rep. Peter Schwartzkopf and Rep. Ruth Briggs King sponsored HB 493 and 494 respectively, the companion bills that delineated key exemptions.  More information on their work to pass these bills available here.

Over the next few months, the Office of Highway Safety, Bayhealth Medical Center and AAA Mid-Atlantic will work to raise awareness of the new law.

Please help us share the news about the dangers of distracted driving.

Call, text, and email the people you care about…

just not when you are behind the wheel!

Governor Markell and the team from the Office of Highway Safety and the Delaware State Police thank you!

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