Because the definition of an at-risk youth is so broad, in some respects, all youth are at risk in one way or another. An at-risk youth is a child who is less likely to transition successfully into adulthood. Success can include academic success and job readiness, as well as the ability to be financially independent. It also can refer to the ability to become a positive member of society by avoiding a life of crime. We will look at factors that lead to children being identified as at-risk and how those factors can adversely affect successful transition into adulthood.
We will support programs that have a proven track record of making a difference. It is critical to note that “at risk” is a concept that reflects a chance or a probability. It most certainly does not imply certainty. Risk factors raise the chance of poor outcomes, while protective factors raise the chance of good outcomes. It is valuable for programs to understand the levels of risk and protective factors in their program clients, as well as of their potential clients. Such understanding can help in developing programs and also in obtaining funding for them.