Youth at Risk: A New Plan for Saving the World's Most Precious Resource by ProQuest

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A quick scan of research on the subject of "youth at risk" yields a plethora of statistics and analysis of varying scope (worldwide or nation by nation). The UN estimates that the world today has 3 billion people under age 25, and the youth population is projected to increase to 3.5 billion by 2020. There is no shortage of concern or information on the subject, nor of groups who have developed various approaches to solving the problems, but clearly no magic formula has been found to greatly diminish the at-risk dilemma. Just over a dozen years ago, the author wrote a special report for THE FUTURIST entitled "Youth at Risk: Saving the World's Most Precious Resource" (March-April 1997). The report outlined the growing problems of children and adolescents and offered an eight-point plan to save these youth. This article assesses their previous work and offers a twenty-first-century approach to the issue.

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									Youth
at Risk                                                                                      In a new look at the plan
                                                                                             he proposed a dozen years

A New Plan for Saving                                                                        ago, a criminal-justice
                                                                                             scholar draws on the

the World’s Most                                                                             insights of a Delphi panel
                                                                                             of experts to develop new
Precious Resource                                                                            strategies for improving
                                                                                             the prospects for today’s
                                                                                             at-risk youth.
By Gene Stephens
                                                                                                A quick scan of research on the
© 2010 World Future Society • 7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 450,
                                                                                             subject of “youth at risk” yields a
Bethesda, MD 20814, U.S.A. • All rights reserved.
                                                                                             plethora of statistics and analysis of
                                                                                             varying scope (worldwide or nation
                                                                                             by nation). The United Nations esti-
                                                                                             mates that the world today has 3 bil-
                                                                                             lion people under age 25, and the
                                                                                             youth population is projected to in-
                                                                                             crease to 3.5 billion by 2020.
                                                                                                How many of these growing num-
                                                                                             bers of young people are “at risk”?
                                                                                             All of them, according to some advo-
                                                                                             cacy groups.
                                                                                                The UN found 500 million young
                                                                                             people living on less than $2 a
                                                                                             day — and half of those had to sur-
                                                                                             vive on less than $1. One hundred
                                                                                             million or more are not in school,
                                                                                             and almost as many are unem-
                                                                                             ployed. While the International
                                                                                             Child and Youth Care Network de-
                                                                                             fines “at risk” as “youths … being
                                                                                             failed by one or more adults or adult-
                                                                 JUAN MONINO / ISTOCKPHOTO




                                                                                             driven system or institution,” Family
                                                                                             First Aid maintains that “any child
                                                                                             that grows up in this world is ‘at
                                                                                             risk’ in some way.”
                                                                                                There is no shortage of concern or
                                                                                             information on the subject, nor of
                                                                                            COLLAGE BY LISA MATHIAS / IMAGES FROM PHOTODISC




groups who have developed various          laws of society, lack of hope and faith   cigarettes. Some parents will do all
approaches to solving the problems,        in the future (a belief that the future   they can to raise their kids
but clearly no magic formula has           can be better), dropping out of           right — and their kids may still make
been found to greatly diminish the
								
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