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Children At-Risk
Who is At-Risk? Migrant Children Homeless Children Sexual Orientation
Truancy/Tardiness Websites Articles Drop Outs & GED
Suicide Child Abuse & Neglect Minority Youth Teen Pregnancy
USA/National Hotlines - Crisis, Child Abuse, Runaway, Suicide etc. Substance Abuse and Treatment
Miscellaneous Resources Child Abuse Education Guide    
 Who is "at risk"? What does "at risk" mean?

"At risk of future failure" is a common phrase used to describe students who face difficulties known to interfere with their educational success. It doesn't mean that the student WILL fail, only that the student may face challenges that other students do not. Under the new, federal "No Child Left Behind" legislation, schools across the country are being told that they have to do a better job of helping "at risk" children succeed.
A child can be "at risk" for any of a number of reasons including:  homelessness, migrant status, lead poisoning, racism, disabilities, giftedness, substance abuse, poverty, divorce, teenage parents, limited English proficiency (LEP), abuse and neglect, etc.
In other words, schools are being told that students come to them with many challenges and it is up to the schools to work together with parents and communities to try to help their students overcome those challenges and achieve educational success.
On this page you will find articles related to the educational success of "at risk" children.

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 Websites/Articles Related to Children At-Risk


Humble and Hopeful: Welcoming First-Generation Poor and Working-class Students to College - Students who are the first in their family to enter higher education join a rarified and often mystifying culture of rules, rites, and rituals. A first-generation working-class college student who became a faculty member offers his insights and recommendations after forty years in the academy.

The WhyTry Program - The goal of the WhyTry Program is to help youth answer the question, "Why try in life?" (when they are frustrated, confused, or angry with life's pressures and challenges.) The WhyTry Program teaches youth that "yes", it is worth trying hard in life. It offers real solutions and presents these solutions in a way that the youth can both understand and remember. WhyTry emphasizes a character education program that consists of ten visual analogies (pictures) that relate to specific problems and special challenges that at risk youth face in their every day lives. Each picture includes various solutions and questions, to help the youth gain insight in dealing with their own challenges.


Arise - A not-for-profit foundation providing materials for at-risk populations, evidence based, award winning life skills educational programs for pre-k-Teens, and staff training.


Schools for Troubled Teens - Troubled Teens provides advice and resource to parents searching for help dealing with defiant and/or troubled teens. Topics include substance abuse, mental health issues, certain disabilities, teen boot camps, wilderness camps, and more.


MidCourse Correction Challenge Camp
Testimonial: "My wife and I are intensive treatment foster adoptive parents that have parented 21 at risk teens, mostly teen boys. Even with all our extra training we have come across some that need more than just the love and safety of a stable home. The MidCourse Correction Challenge camp was recommended to us by one of our boys counselors. That was two years ago. Today he is doing very well in school, no longer using marijuana, involved in school sports and a totally different boy. The MidCourse challenge staff genuinely care about the teens placed in their care. They have several follow up programs that are either free or inexpensive to mentor and continue the work they begin. My wife and I do not know where we would be today without having found this organization. It would be our pleasure to talk with other struggling parents and share our experience. We can be reached by email through the organization website." Jeff and Nancy Marchione


Child Abuse & Neglect Media Handbook (PDF) - Child Trends has just published this free, handy booklet to help journalists improve their coverage of child abuse and neglect stories. The handbook includes basic facts on child abuse and neglect and foster care, as well as quick references to sources of information that can help journalists develop a deeper understanding of the complex issues related to child welfare. Even though the handbook was originally targeted at journalists, it should be of interest to anyone who wants to learn where to find more information about one of society's most troubling problems.

The National Dropout Prevention Center (NDPC) was begun in 1986 to serve as a clearinghouse on issues related to dropout prevention and to offer strategies designed to increase the graduation rate in America's schools. Over the years, the NDPC has become a well-established national resource for sharing solutions for student success. It does so through its clearinghouse function, active research projects, publications, and through a variety of professional development activities. In addition, the NDPC conducts a variety of third party evaluations and Program Assessment and Reviews (PAR).


Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed at Risk (CRESPAR): Every Child has the Capacity to Succeed in School and in Life

Lights On Afterschool! is the only nationwide event calling attention to afterschool programs and their important role in the lives of children, families and communities.

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 Articles Related to Children At-Risk


Beating Prompts Burton Teen to Leave 'Wrong Crowd' Behind - Aaron Brank can remember only parts of the evening last January. First, there was the drinking at a friend's house. Then there was the beating.


Wayne County's Delinquency Wraparound Services: A Guide for Parents - Assistance for families with children that are wards of the state and emotionally challenged, exhibiting delinquent behavior or those in danger of out-of-home placement.


STUDENTS TEACHING STUDENTS: The Many Names of Abuse - Personal stories used to try to slow rise in violent relationships.

MI State Puts Kids at Risk, Oakland Says - County officials: Department of Human Services investigators have left children in abusive homes.


Teens’ Risk-taking All in Their Heads? - NIH study: Part of brain that inhibits risky behavior isn’t fully formed until age 25.


MI Mental Illness Stresses Juvenile Justice System - He was a whiz at origami, the Japanese art of folding paper into various shapes and objects. Leave him alone in a room with a ream of thin copier bond and he would emerge with the most sturdy three-dimensional container, a child-welfare advocate marveled. "It could hold water," said Brian Philson, director of the Jackson County Youth Center. Despite the boy's uncanny knack to craft something out of nothing, the 13-year-old was hard pressed to build a place to sort out his apparent inner demons.


MI A GED, Your Ticket To Freedom - Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed into law a bill today that would allow a judge to require someone to get their high school diploma or their general education development (GED) certificate before they are allowed to get off probation.


MI Adrian Training School to Become Female Facility - The Adrian Training School, which for decades has housed delinquent youth, will be converted into a juvenile justice facility for girls. Family Independence Agency Director Marianne Udow said the conversion will best meet the needs of single-gender juvenile justice programming for girls in the system.

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 Homeless Children and Youth: Resources & Articles


Project Jason's Come Home Program: Seeking the Missing Among the Homeless - Come Home is a new and unique national missing person's locator program sponsored by Project Jason. Come Home posters are placed at homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and other locations where homeless persons gather. Project Jason has a growing database of these shelters and related organizations. Twice per month, a new poster is produced and this information relayed via email to Come Home participants nationwide.


Addressing the Educational Needs of Homeless Children: A Guide for Michigan Child Welfare Practitioners (PDF) by Dan Rubin - The federal law guarantees certain educational benefits and assistance for "homeless" children. The word “homeless” is defined broadly and includes any child in need of a “fixed, regular and adequate” nighttime residence. Dan Rubin, a graduating law student from the University of Michigan, has completed this guide to the federal McKinney-Vento Act in the hope that a brief summary of the law and resources will help parents and advocates help children and youth in need.

MI Oakland Aims to End Homelessness - County task force undertakes effort to eradicate the problem over the next 10 years in the affluent area. David Permaloff has a name for the young people he counsels on the streets of Oakland County: the forgotten homeless. Some have fled homes filled with tension and pain. Others have been abandoned by their parents. Permaloff recalls a case where a teen went on a weekend camping trip and came home to find his parents and all their belongings gone.


Downloadable Booklet: Legal Tools to End Youth Homelessness (PDF; size=308k) - The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (NLCHP) has just finished a new booklet on "Legal Tools to End Youth Homelessness." The booklet discusses access to shelter/housing, public benefits, job training, public school, college and emancipation for unaccompanied youth. It also talks about mandatory reporting of runaway youth. The booklet is in a Q&A format designed to be accessible to non-lawyers. The booklet can be freely copied and shared. Comments and feedback can be shared with Patricia Julianelle, National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, 1411 K Street, N.W., Ste. 1400, Washington, DC 20005. Phone (202) 638-2535 or 1-800-741-8034.

CO Homeless Kids Find Haven in School Outreach Efforts - State's districts are struggling and getting creative to comply with a new law that expands the definition of 'homeless'. Manuel Ramos almost cringes when he is told his three sons are considered homeless. But the divorced 35-year-old is learning to appreciate the teachers, advocates and volunteers who now encircle his children to help ensure their education. "I never thought being a single parent was this hard," said the burly Ramos.


U.S. Ed Dept Issues Guidance for Homeless Students under No Child Left Behind Act - The U.S. Department of Education has released preliminary guidance to help states and school districts ensure that every homeless child or youth receives the same educational opportunities, including public preschool education, as other children.


Homeless Children and Youth: Resources - To ensure that homeless children and youth in Michigan have access to a free and appropriate public school education. The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (Subtitle VII-B) of 2002, part of No Child Left Behind, requires the Department to implement the following - click here to view.


To ensure that homeless children and youth in Michigan have access to a free and appropriate public school education. The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (Subtitle VII-B) of 2002, part of No Child Left Behind, requires the Department to implement the following:

    • Review and revise, if necessary, all legislation, policies and procedures which impede the enrollment and educational success of homeless children and homeless youth

    • Collect and report data regarding the number and location of homeless children and homeless youth

    • Adopt a state plan to establish comparable procedures for local and intermediate school boards to enroll and educate homeless children and homeless youth

    • Make grants available to local educational agencies to facilitate enrollment, attendance and educational success of homeless children and homeless youth

    • Coordinate interagency programs and activities with federal, state and local agencies to enhance effective implementation of the McKinney Act

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 Migrant Children


ED Mulls Migrant Student Database - For children in migrant families, school is more like a way station than a final destination, which poses significant challenges for the teachers who are charged with their education. Now, a proposal from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) would track those students as they travel along traditional migrant routes, ensuring that school records follow them wherever they might go. [Free login/registration required to view this article.'


We would love to expand this section. Please send recommendations for articles and resources to

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 Miscellaneous Resources


MI Programs for Youth Sponsored by the Michigan National Guard - Michigan's youth are its future. To this end, the Michigan National Guard is involved in a wide variety of youth-oriented programs. In addition to the officially sponsored programs, Michigan National Guard members participate in countless community-based programs as mentors and volunteers.


APSAC (American Professional Society on Abuse of Children) is dedicated to a multidisciplinary approach to professional services to maltreated children and the adults who share and influence their lives. APSAC members come from law enforcement, medicine, social services, mental health, psychology, law, social work, social and behavioral sciences, education and allied professions.  Membership in APSAC costs $75-145 per year and includes an automatic membership in the state chapter, (MiPSAC in Michigan) and subscriptions to the official journal, Child Maltreatment; the quarterly practice newsletter, the APSAC Advisor; and for Michigan residents a subscription to the MiPSAC Newsletter, a practice journal addressing issues in Michigan.  A membership application is available online at


Eva’s Place provides a safe, supportive environment for victims of domestic and sexual assault.  Every person has the right to live a non-violent life, free of fear (located in Sanilac County, Michigan).


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 Substance Abuse & Treatment

Treatment 4 Addiction


For the substance abuse treatment facility nearest you, click here.

Growing Up Drug–Free: A Parent's Guide to Prevention - Helps parents guide their preschool-to-high school-age children as they form attitudes about drug use. This publication provides answers to children's questions as well as sources for help. It covers such important topics as: 1) how to carry on a continuing dialogue with children on the subject of drugs; 2) why occasional alcohol, tobacco, or other drug use is a serious matter; and 3) how to educate yourself as a parent or guardian about drugs.


Book Recommendation: Moving In: Ten Successful Independent/Transitional Living Programs - This book, published by Northwest Media, profiles programs across the country that are helping foster care and homeless teens adapt to living on their own. It also offers successful models for transitioning foster care youth. Each chapter in the book explores a different transitional living program serving both rural and inner-city youth.

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MI Students Could Not Be Kicked Out For Being Truant Under New Legislation - Children couldn't be kicked out of school for being chronically absent from school under legislation that received its first hearing in a Senate committee this afternoon.


We would love to expand this section. Please send recommendations for articles and resources to


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Sexual Orientation

Michigan Camp is a Haven for Gay Teens - At this Michigan camp, in between the water games, craft projects and hikes through the woods, 14 teens are talking about ways to tell their friends and family that they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. They're learning how to be advocates for gay rights and getting guidance on being comfortable and confident with their sexuality. At this camp there is no harassment. It is a safe haven, a place where these teens are free to be themselves.


Advocates Say Educators Too Reluctant to Tackle Bullying of Gays, Lesbians - Last month, 5,500 educators from 36 states signed up as participants in the second annual No Name Calling Week, an anti-bullying program addressing verbal harassment of students, including gay and lesbian students, in middle and high schools.


CA Anti-Gay Harassment in Schools Shows the Problem is Widespread, Dangerous & Preventable - Despite an anti-harassment law that took effect four years ago, more than 200,000 of California's middle and high school students are targets of harassment based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, according to a new study by the California Safe Schools Coalition. The Safe Place to Learn study found that such widespread bullying has dangerous academic, health and safety consequences for students. [Source: PEN]


U.S. They're 'Out' at School, and Tension is in - Philadelphia high schools are struggling with a new problem in student behavior: rising tensions between heterosexual and openly lesbian girls. Nationwide, lesbians increasingly are declaring their sexual orientation and publicly displaying their affection for each other at younger ages, and Philadelphia appears in step with that trend.

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Gryphon Place: This website lists warning signs, myths and facts, statistics, research, and prevention.


Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program - A comprehensive community-based Suicide Prevention Program. Call 1-800-615-1245 24 hours a day/7 days a week for Community Mental Health or 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433). For teen advice visit For teen help visit


We would love to expand this section. Please send recommendations for articles and resources to

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Teen Pregnancy

Pregnant High School Students Ask for 4 Weeks Maternity Leave  - Pregnant students in a Denver high school are asking for at least four weeks of maternity leave so they can heal, bond with their newborns and not be penalized with unexcused absences.


A Daring New Sex Ed Tactic - What happens when the adults leave the room and older teens take on the role of teaching younger teens all about sex and birth control? It gets interesting, that's what.


Science Says Research Brief: Early Childhood Programs (PDF) - While most programs aimed at preventing teen pregnancy focus on adolescents, research suggests that children's experiences in programs many years earlier may also contribute to a reduced likelihood that they will become parents too soon.


National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy - The goal of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy is to reduce the rate of teen pregnancy by one-third between 1996 and 2005.

Making the List: Understanding, Selecting, and Replicating Effective Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs - A Putting What Works to Work publication, Making the List helps those working with young people to navigate lists of effective teen pregnancy prevention programs and make informed decisions about how to select the best one(s) for a particular community and population. Order a print copy.

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Child Abuse & Neglect

MI Lawyers Exit From Kids' Cases - More than 1,000 abused and neglected children in Wayne County Family Court cases are getting new lawyers to represent their interests in child protective proceedings.

Child Abuse Hotlines

Child Abuse Hotline/Dept of Social Services 1-800-342-3720


National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-792-52000


Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline/Voices for Children 1-800-422-4453

Provides multilingual crisis intervention and professional counseling on child abuse. Gives referrals to local social service groups offering counseling on child abuse. Has literature on child abuse in English and Spanish.  Operates 24 hours.


Boys Town National Hotline 1-800-448-3000
For children and parents in any type of personal crisis. Trained counselors will provide help in abusive relationships, parent-child conflicts, pregnancy, runaway youth, suicide, physical and sexual abuse. Operates 24 hours.

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Minority Youth

Legal Rights of Juvenile Offenders - The American Bar Association has a new guide for attorneys who represent or advocate for juvenile status offenders. The document, called “Representing Juvenile Status Offenders”, is now freely available for download.


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