Disconnected youth are people between the ages of 16 and 24, who are neither in school or working. This group is 65% more likely to be poor, four times as likely to have a child, and three times as likely to have a disability in comparison to their counterparts who are in school or working. Measure of America, a non-profit research council, hosted a webinar in April 2017 to address the decline of disconnected youth nationally, and the remaining challenges this group faces in light of their recent report.
Nationally, 12.3% of youth are considered disconnected, which is down from the rate of 14.7% during the 2010 Great Recession. On the local level, rural areas have the highest rates of disconnected youth, with 20.3% of youth considered disconnected between 2010-2014. While the overall number of disconnected youth is declining, disparities by race and ethnicity among disconnected youth persist. 25% of Native American youth are disconnected, and 19% of black youth are disconnected. Even if incomes level were the same among races, the probability of disconnection is still greater for black, Latino, and Native American youth in comparison to Asians and whites.
While the rates of disconnected youth are declining, there is still more work to be done, especially considering the disparities of disconnection along race and ethnicity. Advocacy & Communication Solutions, LLC (ACS) understands how communities can engage children, youth, and families to better address their needs. The City of Little Rock turned to ACS to develop the city’s first ever three-year Master Plan for Children, Youth, and Families in February 2015. Little Rock’s Master Plan was completed in June 2016 and provided a clear roadmap for a coordinated, citywide approach relevant to the needs, desires, and expectations of its residents. Read the full case study here to learn more about how ACS used facilitation expertise, strategy development, research, and community engagement to build capacity and create new city processes and a strategic roadmap for children, youth, and families.