At-risk youths are adolescents experiencing acute behavioural problems and emotional problems, causing them to be a safety liability to both themselves and others (Janis, 2002). This also impedes their ability to learn and cope in various social settings. Often at-risk youths end up incarcerated in a juvenile facility and are often labelled as a menace to our society. They are prone to suicidal behaviours that sometimes leads to a fatal outcome. According to the CDC, suicide is the third leading cause of death between the ages of 15-24 and sixth leading cause of death between the ages of 5-15. At-risk youths also typically engage in drug use, drop out of school, and practice early un-protected sexual behaviour as well as violent crimes.
At risk youths require special attention from the people who surround them on a daily basis. Having consistent, positive influence and guidance will enable them to mature responsibly and make better decisions. Advocacy programs have played a large role in helping the youths at risk. Youth advocates offer individual and family counselling as well as a variety of other helpful services. They help connect the youth and their families to existing community programs. They work towards creating an environment where everyone works together to provide coordinated support for the youth. In addition, they provide counselling services to all ages through elementary, middle and high school. They are also involved in alcohol and drug prevention and intervention, juvenile court diversion and family support and assistance.
During this intervention social worker advocate employs various methodologies. One of the methodologies used by the advocates is development approach. It involves the advocate dealing with the youth and his or her family directly. It requires them to come together to build up and strengthen the youth. This type of approach helps to develop youth’s skills and confidence requires withstanding the pressure. Other methodologies include: Social learning theory, role modelling and cognitive behavioural learning.
Risk factors and intervention
As the adolescents grow, they are faced with various situations such as finding their identity, peer pressure, poverty, conflict with parents, transition from the childhood to adulthood and various physical changes. These factors pre-dispose them to various risks such as suicide, drug abuse, and teenage parenthood, dropping out of school, delinquency and sexual misbehaviours. The concept of an at-risk continuum is useful to teachers, counsellors, psychologists, and human service professionals interested in identifying the nature and level of risk faced by the young people with whom they work.
In the case of Josie, first, she is at risk of committing suicide. Being extremely depressed and not seeing the essence of living predisposes her to this risk. Depression and feeling of unworthiness of life is among the high risk factors for suicide. Studies have shown...