Leave No Youth Behind: Opportunities for Congress to Reach Disconnected Youth

Publication Date: July 2003

Publisher: Center for Law and Social Policy

Author(s): Mark H. Greenberg; Jodie Levin-Epstein

Research Area: Social conditions

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


Too many young people are not on the path toward successful adulthood, and the U.S. has no coherent policy to help these disconnected youth become productive members of society. Estimates of the number of youth who are disconnected or at risk of becoming disconnected range from nearly 3 million to more than 7 million.

This report offers recommendations to help disconnected youth in six programs being considered by the 108th Congress for reauthorization: the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, the Higher Education Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, and the Workforce Investment Act. It encourages federal policymakers to look across legislative initiatives to develop an integrated set of policies to address the needs of this population.

The report concludes that the nation should commit itself to increase the proportion of young people who at age 25 (1) have a high school diploma and postsecondary degree or credential, (2) are employed in jobs with career advancement possibilities, and (3) are not engaged in adverse risk-taking behaviors.