How Can Louisiana Better Take Care of At-Risk Youth?
Sadly, Louisiana doesn't seem to be getting any better when it comes to taking care of some of our most vulnerable, our state's at-risk youth.
What do we mean when we use the term 'at-risk' youth?
Study.com says the phrase 'at-risk youth' refers to 'a child whose chances at a successful transition to adult life are hindered by certain circumstances or factors experienced during their childhood.'
What are the specific factors or circumstances that contribute to a child becoming 'at-risk?'
This question isn't as easy to answer because there is a multitude of reasons including poverty, lack of education, a poor home environment, lack of food or access to healthcare, etc...
How does Louisiana rank when it comes to at-risk youth?
In short, not very well. WalletHub.com recently published a study that looked at indicators that contribute to a child becoming 'at-risk' and found that Louisiana is the state with the most at-risk youth in the country, again, for 2022. To give you a better understanding of how big this problem is for our state, I went back several years to see how Louisiana ranked in the past. According to what I could find, Louisiana had the most at-risk youth in 2021, 2020, and 2019.
How we can change this, Louisiana? WalletHub measured sixteen key factors with regard to at-risk youth and we came up short the majority of the time. If you ask me, it all starts with family. Having a stable home environment with access to quality food, health care, and education should be a 'given' for our children.
Am I alone here? Are there other things our leaders and legislators can do to make sure our children are equipped with the tools they need to succeed? As a TBRI Advocate and volunteer for Volunteers for Youth Justice, I know for a fact that there are plenty of people in our community dedicated to meeting our at-risk kids where they're at to help them grow and prosper.
I would really like to hear your thoughts on the matter. One thing I know for sure is that this trend should not be allowed to continue.