At-risk youth are children who are more likely to drop out of school due to a variety of demographic, socioeconomic, and institutional characteristics. Definition:
Some characteristics of at-risk youth: Chronic poverty Single parent Bad grades Toxic environment Negative peer influence Drug use Absence from school Low motivation and self- esteem Homelessness Poor social skills
If a teen is experiencing more than four of the following warning signs, they could be at-risk. Has the teen ever been suspended, expelled, been truant, or had their grades drop? Is the teen verbally abusive? Does the teen struggle with basic family rules and expectations? Does the parent have difficulty getting the teen to do basic household chores and homework? Has the teen had problems with the law? Does the parent have to pick their words carefully when speaking to the teen, so as not to elicit a verbal attack or even rage from them? Is the teen in danger of dropping out of high school? Does the teen associate with a suspect peer group? Has the teen lost interest in former productive activities, sports, hobbies, or childhood friends? Has the teen ever displayed any evidence of suicide? Does the teen seem depressed or withdrawn? Is the teen sexually promiscuous? Has the teen’s appearance or personal hygiene changed? Is the teen deceitful and manipulative? Has the teen been caught stealing money or personal items from their family? Is the teen severely lacking in motivation? Does the teen sometimes lie regarding their activities? Does the teen display outbursts of temper? Does the teen lack self-worth and self-esteem? Does the teen defy established rules regardless of the consequences? When trying to deal with the teen, do the parents feel powerless? Does the teen have a problem with authority? Do the parents suspect the teen is experimenting with drugs or alcohol? Does the teen ever display violent behavior?
Risk along a continuum Minimal Risk Remote Risk High RiskImminent Risk At-risk Behavior High SESLess PositiveDepressionSmokingHard Drugs Few Psycho- social stressors Some Stressors AnxietyEarly sexual activity Teenage mother Good SchoolsSingle ParentAggressionAlcoholBeen in prison Positive PeersBad CrowdHopelessnessLegal TroubleDropped out of school Good FamilyMinority Status Poor school grades Severe school problems Dropped out of school Students from low income, low skill, low education families are twice as likely to drop out as students from affluent families. (from Randall Grayson, PhD.)
Resources Grayson, Randall, Ph.D. “At-Risk Youth and Resilience Factors”. www.visionrealization.com.www.visionrealization.com 10 October 2011. Bradley, Michael J. “Who is At-Risk”. www.at-risk.orgwww.at-risk.org 10 October 2011. Oakes, Duane D. Elise Sweet, and Mutinkhe Kaunda. “Challenges and Strategies: Working with At-Risk Youth”. www.mesacc.edu. 12 October 2011www.mesacc.edu A good resource for counselor’s: http://at-risk.com/http://at-risk.com/