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[IWS] CRS: VULNERABLE YOUTH: BACKGROUND AND POLICIES [13 January 2014]

IWS Documented News Service

_______________________________

Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach

School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies

Cornell University

16 East 34th Street, 4th floor---------------------- Stuart Basefsky

New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau

________________________________________________________________________

 

Congressional Research Service (CRS)

 

Vulnerable Youth: Background and Policies

Adrienne L. Fernandes-Alcantara, Specialist in Social Policy

January 13, 2014

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL33975.pdf

[full-text, 69 pages]

 

Summary

The majority of young people in the United States grow up healthy and safe in their communities.

Most of those of school age live with parents who provide for their well-being, and they attend

schools that prepare them for advanced education or vocational training and, ultimately, selfsufficiency.

Many youth also receive assistance from their families during the transition to

adulthood. During this period, young adults cycle between attending school, living independently,

and staying with their families. Approximately 60% of parents today provide financial support to

their adult children who are no longer in school. This support comes in the form of housing (50%

of parents provide this support to their adult children), living expenses (48%), cost of

transportation (41%), health insurance (35%), spending money (29%), and medical bills (28%).

Even with this assistance, the current move from adolescence to adulthood has become longer

and increasingly complex.

 

For vulnerable (or “at-risk”) youth populations, the transition to adulthood is further complicated

by a number of challenges, including family conflict or abandonment and obstacles to securing

employment that provides adequate wages and health insurance. These youth may be prone to

outcomes that have negative consequences for their future development as responsible, selfsufficient

adults. Risk outcomes include teenage parenthood; homelessness; drug abuse;

delinquency; physical and sexual abuse; and school dropout. Detachment from the labor market

and school—or disconnectedness—may be the single strongest indicator that the transition to

adulthood has not been made successfully.

 

The federal government has not adopted a single overarching federal policy or legislative vehicle

that addresses the challenges vulnerable youth experience in adolescence or while making the

transition to adulthood. Rather, federal youth policy today has evolved from multiple programs

established in the early 20th century and expanded in the years following the 1964 announcement

of the War on Poverty. These programs are concentrated in six areas: workforce development,

education, juvenile justice and delinquency prevention, social services, public health, and national

and community service. They are intended to provide vulnerable youth with opportunities to

develop skills to assist them in adulthood.

 

Despite the range of federal services and activities to assist disadvantaged youth, many of these

programs have not developed into a coherent system of support. This is due in part to the

administration of programs within several agencies and the lack of mechanisms to coordinate

their activities. In response to concerns about the complex federal structure developed to assist

vulnerable youth, Congress passed the Tom Osborne Federal Youth Coordination Act (P.L. 109-

365) in 2006. Though activities under the act were never funded, the Interagency Working Group

on Youth Programs was formed in 2008 under Executive Order 13459 to carry out coordinating

activities across multiple agencies that oversee youth programs. Separately, Congress has

considered other legislation (the Younger Americans Act of 2000 and the Youth Community

Development Block Grant of 1995) to improve the delivery of services to vulnerable youth and

provide opportunities to these youth through policies with a “positive youth development” focus.

The Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs characterizes positive youth development as

a process that engages young people in positive pursuits that help them acquire and practice the

skills, attitudes, and behaviors that they will need to become effective and successful adults in

their work, family, and civic lives.

 

Contents

Introduction ...................................................................................................................................... 1

Overview.......................................................................................................................................... 2

Age of Youth and the Transition to Adulthood .......................................................................... 2

Defining the Vulnerable Youth Population ................................................................................ 4

Groups of Vulnerable Youth ................................................................................................ 5

Risk Factors ..................................................................................................................................... 6

Disconnectedness ...................................................................................................................... 7

Positive Youth Development: The Importance of Resiliency and Opportunity......................... 7

What is Youth Development? .............................................................................................. 8

The Youth Development Movement ................................................................................... 9

Evolution of the Federal Role in Assisting Vulnerable Youth ....................................................... 10

1912-1950s: Children’s Bureau Programs and Workforce Programs ...................................... 11

1960s-1970s: War on Poverty Initiatives and Expansion of Programs .................................... 13

White House Conferences on Children and Youth: 1960s and 1970s ............................... 14

Family and Youth Services Bureau ................................................................................... 15

1980s-Present: Current Youth Programs ................................................................................. 15

Job Training and Workforce Development ........................................................................ 16

Education ........................................................................................................................... 17

Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention ................................................................... 20

Social Services .................................................................................................................. 21

Public Health ..................................................................................................................... 22

National and Community Service ..................................................................................... 24

Federal Efforts to Improve Coordination Among Programs for Vulnerable Youth ....................... 26

Overview ................................................................................................................................. 26

Claude Pepper Young Americans Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-501) ................................................ 27

Federal Council on Children, Youth, and Families ........................................................... 27

Grants for States and Community Programs ..................................................................... 28

More Recent Concerns about Coordination of Youth Programs ............................................. 28

Youth Build Transfer Act (P.L. 109-281) ................................................................................. 29

Tom Osborne Federal Youth Coordination Act (P.L. 109-365) ............................................... 30

Executive Order 13459 ............................................................................................................ 31

Comparison of the Federal Youth Development Council and the Interagency

Working Group ............................................................................................................... 33

Federal Initiatives to Improve Coordination ........................................................................... 34

The White House Council for Community Solutions ....................................................... 34

Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention ........................... 35

Shared Youth Vision Initiative........................................................................................... 36

Federal Mentoring Council ............................................................................................... 36

Child Welfare Partnerships ................................................................................................ 36

Partnerships for Youth Transition ...................................................................................... 37

Safe Schools/Healthy Students (SS/HS) Initiative ............................................................ 37

Drug-Free Communities Support Program ....................................................................... 38

Policies to Promote Positive Youth Development ......................................................................... 38

Overview ................................................................................................................................. 38

Youth Development Community Block Grant of 1995 (H.R. 2807/S. 673) ............................ 38

Younger Americans Act of 2001 (H.R. 17/S. 1005) ................................................................ 39

Conclusion ..................................................................................................................................... 40

 

Tables

Table 1. Duties of the Federal Youth Development Council, by Goal ........................................... 31

Table A-1. Federal Programs for Vulnerable Youth ....................................................................... 42

Table A-2. Relevant CRS Reports and Analyst Contact Information ............................................ 63

 

Appendixes

Appendix. Federal Youth Programs and Relevant CRS Reports and Experts ............................... 42

 

Contacts

Author Contact Information........................................................................................................... 65

Acknowledgments ......................................................................................................................... 65

 

 

________________________________________________________________________

This information is provided to subscribers, friends, faculty, students and alumni of the School of Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR). It is a service of the Institute for Workplace Studies (IWS) in New York City. Stuart Basefsky is responsible for the selection of the contents which is intended to keep researchers, companies, workers, and governments aware of the latest information related to ILR disciplines as it becomes available for the purposes of research, understanding and debate. The content does not reflect the opinions or positions of Cornell University, the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, or that of Mr. Basefsky and should not be construed as such. The service is unique in that it provides the original source documentation, via links, behind the news and research of the day. Use of the information provided is unrestricted. However, it is requested that users acknowledge that the information was found via the IWS Documented News Service.

 

 




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