Do you know what “at risk kids” are? They’re kids who have a higher risk of dropping out of school, committing crimes, abusing drugs and alcohol, and being incarcerated in a juvenile facility and ultimately, as adults, in prison.
It’s likely that you know an at risk kid; he lives next door to you, she attends your church, he’s in your kid’s class, she’s one of your child’s friends.
According the US Census Bureau the following have been identified as risk factors in children (ranked highest to lowest % of American children)
1. Does not live with both parents 30.8% (63% of African-American children)
2. Neither parent/guardian employed – 10.5%
3. Family income below $10,000 – 8.5%
4. Retained in grade at least once – 8.1%
5. At least one disability – 7.6%
6. Speaks English less than ‘very well’ – 4.9%
7. Either parent emigrated in past 5 years – 2.3%
About twenty-four million children (24,000,000) have one of the above risk factors; that equates to nearly 46% of all children with one risk factor and about 25% have more than one risk factor. Most of those children are inner center youth.
It’s estimated that about 20% (9,500,000) of children under the age of 18 are directly affected (neglect or abuse) by substance-abusing parents.
Those children 25% to 50% at higher risk of…
1. Arrest as a juvenile
2. Arrest as an adult
3. Arrest for a violent crime
A dominant indicator of at risk children is fatherlessness; many at risk children don’t have a father in their life. Statistics related to fatherlessness are staggering.
Fatherless children account for…
1. 90% of runaways
2. 85% of all kids locked up in youth prisons
3. 85% of children with behavioral disorders
4. 75% of adolescents in chemical abuse centers
5. 72% of all adolescent murders
6. 71% of high school dropouts
7. 70% of prison inmates
8. 70% of kids who live in state institutions
9. 63% of child suicides
In 2008 there was a total of eight million (8,000,000) Americans in prison and on probation. That’s three percent (3%) of American’s population. Nearly six million (5,600,000) of those people didn’t have a father in their life when they were children.
Many of the at-risk-children of today are the prison inmates of tomorrow. Are we content to just let it continue?
Are you content to just let it continue? What can you do? There are some simple ways to help at-risk-children but the most effective is to become a mentor to an at risk kid.
Do you know how many kids who want a mentor have one? Only 12%; that’s right only 12% of at risk kids who want a mentor currently have one. There are about four million at risk kids on mentor waiting lists.
There’s an at-risk-kid waiting for you, somewhere.
Want to find out more about becoming a mentor? Goto…
Big Brothers/Big Sisters
Bureau of Justice Statistics
Gangs and Kids.com
US Census Bureau