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Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros is pushing a plan to set up learning centers in public-housing units. The idea is part of a program that provides federal aid to tear down aging housing projects and build new communities outfitted with various services.

Cisneros is encouraging cities involved to include "communities of learning" that would offer education and child-care programs and would wire apartments so residents could use personal computers for self-paced learning.

A new report details early lessons from a project that taps neighborhood resources to help children and families.

The $30 million, 10-year project, now in its fourth year, works in eight Chicago neighborhoods with after-school programs, youth groups, sports teams, parks, libraries, and community centers. The report discusses roadblocks and successes in setting up governing bodies, linking with social services, reaching families, and training workers.

Copies of "Children, Families, and Communities: Early Lessons From a New Approach to Social Services" are available for $5 each, prepaid, from the American Youth Policy Forum, Suite 719, 1001 Connecticut Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036.

The U.S. Department of Justice's office of juvenile justice and delinquency prevention is hosting a conference in Washington Oct. 20-23 on the mental-health needs of youths in the juvenile-justice system.

Data show that mental disorders are far more prevalent among these youngsters than in the general population, and the conference will bring together mental-health, juvenile-justice, and education experts to discuss the issue.

For information, call Ryan Landworth at the National Coalition for Mental and Substance Abuse Health Care in the Justice System at (206) 285-7422.

Despite their scarce assets and isolation, many rural schools have found creative ways to pool local resources, a new report shows.

Copies of "Integrating Education, Health, and Social Services in Rural Communities: Service Integration Through the Rural Prism," are available for $23.99 each, prepaid, from Research for Better Schools, 444 N. Third St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19123-4107.

The Finance Project, a group looking at new ways to fund family services, has issued a new report describing 50 programs using diverse strategies.

Copies of "Compendium of Comprehensive, Community-Based Initiatives: A Look at Costs, Benefits, and Financing Strategies," are available free of charge from the Finance Project, 1341 G St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005; (202) 628-4200.

--Deborah L. Cohen

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