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[Excerpt] This report first provides an overview of the youth population and the increasing complexity of transitioning to adulthood for all adolescents. It also provides a separate discussion of the concept of “disconnectedness,” as well as the protective factors youth can develop during childhood and adolescence that can mitigate poor outcomes. Further, the report describes the evolution of federal youth policy, focusing on three time periods, and provides a brief overview of current federal programs targeted at vulnerable youth. The report then discusses the challenges of coordinating federal programs for youth, as well as federal legislation and initiatives that promote coordination among federal agencies and support programs with a positive youth development focus.


Suggested Citation
Fernandes-Alcantara, A. L. (2012). Vulnerable youth: Background and policies. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service.

A more recent version of this report can be found here: