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Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings Losing Generations ADOLESCENTS IN HIGH-RISK SETTINGS Panel on High-Risk Youth Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1993
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Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. Support for this project was provided by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, The Medical Trusts of the Pew Charitable Trusts, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Research Council Fund. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Losing generations : adolescents in high-risk settings :panel on high -risk youth / Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-309-04828-1; ISBN 0-309-05234-3, pbk. 1. Socially handicapped youth—United States. I. National Research Council (U.S.). Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. HV1421.L67 1993 362.7'4'0973—dc20 93-4358 CIP Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue NW, Box 285, Washington, DC 20055. Call 800-624-6242 or 202-334-3313 (in the Washington Metropolitan Area). Copyright 1993 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America Cover: Photograph by Eric Futran, copyright 1993.
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Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings PANEL ON HIGH-RISK YOUTH JOEL F. HANDLER (Chair), School of Law, University of California, Los Angeles, California GORDON L. BERLIN, Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation., New York, New York THOMAS D. COOK, Center for Urban Affairs and Policy Research, Northwestern University ALONZO A. CRIM, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia SANFORD M. DORNBUSCH, Center for the Study of Families, Children, and Youth, Stanford University JOY G. DRYFOOS, Hastings-on-Hudson, New York ROBERTO M. FERNANDEZ, Department of Sociology, Northwestern University RICHARD B. FREEMAN, Center for Economic Performance, London School of Economics JOHN HAGAN, School of Law, University of Toronto CHARLES E. IRWIN, JR., School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco RICHARD JESSOR, University of Colorado, Boulder GLORIA JOHNSON-POWELL, Camille Cosby Center, Judge Baker Children's Center, Boston, Massachusetts AARON SHIRLEY, Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center, Jackson, Mississippi BARBARA STARFIELD, School of Hygiene and Public Health, Johns Hopkins University LLOYD STREET,* Department of Human Services Studies, Cornell University R. Shepherd Zeldin, Project Director (through September 1992) Susanne Stoiber, Director, Division on Social and Economic Studies Barbara Briston, Senior Project Assistant * Due to extended travel and fieldwork out of the country, Dr. Street did not see the final draft of the report.
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Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Frank Press is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Frank Press and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.
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Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings Contents PREFACE vii SUMMARY 1 1 ADOLESCENTS AT RISK 13 2 EARNINGS AND EMPLOYMENT 24 3 FAMILIES 41 4 NEIGHBORHOODS 63 5 HEALTH AND HEALTH CARE 81 6 ACADEMIC SCHOOLING 102 7 FROM SCHOOL TO WORK 125 8 JUVENILE AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE 151 9 ADOLESCENTS IN THE CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM 175
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Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings 10 GOOD PRACTICE: COMMUNITY BASED INTERVENTIONS AND SERVICES 193 11 CONCLUSIONS AND RESEARCH DIRECTIONS 235 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF PANEL MEMBERS AND STAFF 257 INDEX 265
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Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings Preface The title of this report is Losing Generations. In an important sense, it is another in a long list of studies, books, and reports that have said the same thing—many of our nation's children and youth are in trouble. The fact that this report is another in this long line should increase everyone's concern. We believe that the problems of America's young people are getting significantly worse, not better. This is a human tragedy, and it is a national tragedy that will have a serious impact on all of us. This report is different, though, in that by focusing attention on the settings or environments in which young people and their families are living, it fixes responsibility where we think it belongs—on ourselves. The vast majority of those who write and read these reports were born in healthy, nurturing families who loved us and were able to guide us on our way. We grew up in safe, supporting neighborhoods, went to decent schools, were healed when we got sick, and, in time, secured rewarding employment. Some of us stumbled along the way, but we had second and third chances. Today, not only are such nurturing, supporting environments denied to large numbers of children and youth, but also, in many instances, the environments in which they live have actually increased the dangers to them. Many young people survive and lead productive, contributing lives, but large numbers of others do not; the odds against them are simply too great. This is not fair. High-risk settings do not just happen: they are the result
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Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings of policies and choices that cumulatively determine whether families will have adequate incomes, whether neighborhoods will be safe or dangerous, whether schools will be capable of teaching, whether health care will be available—in short, whether young people will be helped or hindered while growing up. That many of the results described in this report may be unintended should not deter us from examining the policies that led to them and considering how they might be changed. It is our hope that the analysis contained in this report will assist the process of reappraisal. Putting together the story of this report was a difficult, sometimes frustrating, but, in the end, exciting experience. The panel has incurred more than the usual number of debts, and on its behalf I would like to express our appreciation to those who helped us. Shep Zeldin directed the study from its beginning until September 1992. He had the difficult task of organizing the project, attending to the myriad details of budgets, meetings, and facilities, and, at the same time, listening to the multiple voices of an interdisciplinary collection of academics and practitioners. In addition to his intellectual contributions, Shep organized the work, helped put together an excellent group of consultants, arranged for a stimulating site visit and workshop at The Door, a New York City youth services center, and, on top of all of this, produced a first draft. Shep worked hard and well, and we thank him. The difficult task of completing the project, putting the final pieces together, drafting and redrafting the report, and steering it through the review process was taken up by Susanne Stoiber. Susanne worked tirelessly, efficiently, and above all, brilliantly. She is a master at capturing ideas coherently and with passion, and, at the same time, forging a Conesus. All of us are in her debt. Many others contributed. Eugenia Grohman was our excellent editor and also provided valuable advice throughout the project. Elaine McGarraugh was the manager of the manuscript, with the thankless task of keeping track of hundreds of changes and verifying information and references. Barbara Briston provided valuable administrative support. Michele White, administrator of The Door, arranged a warm, informative meeting for the panel, and we appreciate her hospitality. Karen Pittman, vice president of the Academy for Education Development, Washington, D.C., and Howard Spivak, Harvard University, moderated our workshop with intelligence and skill. All of these people made our work more efficient and informed and helped us produce a better product. They have our heartfelt appreciation and thanks.
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Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings The study was sponsored by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. We thank our sponsors for their patient support. Finally, I would like to thank the panel members. This was a long, sometimes bumpy road, but the members stayed together to the end. We shared excellent discussions, worked through difficult ideas, and, I think, made good decisions. The members did this because they believed in the importance of the issues. It was a pleasure to work with such a fine group of people. Joel F. Handler Chair, Panel on High-Risk Youth
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Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings Losing Generations ADOLESCENTS IN HIGH-RISK SETTINGS