The Problems Of Our “At-Risk” Youth


There are millions of youths in America who have problems not of their own making. Often called “society’s innocent victims,” these young citizens need the help of us caring adults.

Today, we are beginning a series of seven blogs, the first describing the problems and the last listing the many ways we caring adults can assist these children.

Some causes of children’s problems

They have no father living at home.

They have no mother living at home.

One of their parents is in prison.

Their parents are on drugs, alcohol.

Their single parent, or parents, are unable to give them the attention they need.

They are left alone too often and/or for too long a period of time.

They have no one to talk to, play with, or associate with outside of school.

They are ignored by everyone around them.

They are unstable. They frequently move and change schools.

They are homeless, live in a shelter or live with relatives or friends temporarily.

They live in unsafe conditions.

They are poor. Their clothing is inadequate and their food lacks sufficient nourishment.

They are currently, or have been, sexually abused.

They are physically abused.

They have a mental health issue.

No one provides them guidance re good behavior, morals, etc.

They have no one who will help them with school work.

They lack a positive role model to help them make good choices.

They have no adult who demonstrates he/she cares about them.

They have little opportunity to learn something new, to participate in activities outside of school, to improve their skills..

They lack self-confidence.

They lack discipline.

They have little self-esteem.

Their social skills are poor.

They have too much peer pressure.

They associate with the wrong group of friends.

They are bullied.

Gangs pick on them.


They suffer from drug and alcohol addiction.

They come from homes where drug addiction and/or alcoholism is prevalent.

They have to take on an adult role while still growing up.

They have great difficulty expressing their feelings.

They have a bad relationship with a parent.

They have no one to talk to.

They are or have been abused, physically and/or sexually.

They seem to “belong” nowhere.

They witness domestic violence.

They are neglected.

They are not aware of the resources and help that are available to them.

Some Related Excerpts from

HUMANS OF NEW YORK  by Brandon Stanton.

The book Humans of New York is 428 pages of superlative photos of various people and their “from the heart” comments on their life.


Description: The photo is of a man, about 25, sitting alone on the steps of a public building. Page 224.

He says to the interviewer, “Nobody came to my tenth birthday party. I have a very vivid memory of helping my mother set the table, then watching through the window as the sun slowly set, before finally realizing that nobody was coming. That moment pretty much set the theme for the rest of my life.”

School Counselor

Description: The photo is of a girl about 15, looking in the distance thoughtfully. Page 230.

She relates to the interviewer, “I turned out okay because of the people in foster care who didn’t go anywhere when I tried to push them away.”

“Anyone in particular?”

“There were a lot. But there was a counselor at one of my group homes named Jenelle Bugue. And when I woke up crying at 3 A.M. because I felt nobody loved me, she would sit with me and tell me that she cared about me, and she wasn’t going anywhere. And she’d tell me that God cared about me and God wasn’t going anywhere.”

Not Good Enough

Description: The photo is of a boy sitting on the pavement. Only his arms and his sneakers are visible. Page 260.

He says to the interviewer, “My father just isn’t nice. He’s always saying, ‘You’re not good enough.’ Even when I do good on something, it’s always, ‘Why didn’t you do better?’ And he hits us. My sister gets the worst of it. She actually called ACS on him. On his birthday.”

“Did that get him to stop?”

“It got him to stop the physical abuse.”