From the Introduction: "Congress has long been concerned about the well-being of youth. The nation's future depends on young people today to leave school prepared for college or the workplace and to begin to make positive contributions to society. Some youth, however, face barriers to becoming contributing taxpayers, workers, and participants in civic life. These youth have characteristics or experiences that put them at risk of developing problem behaviors and outcomes that have the potential to harm their community, themselves, or both. […] The federal government has not adopted a single overarching federal policy or legislative vehicle that addresses the challenges at-risk youth experience in adolescence or while making the transition to adulthood. Rather, federal youth policy today has evolved from multiple programs established in the early 20th century and expanded through Great Society initiatives. These programs, concentrated in six areas--workforce development, education, juvenile justice and delinquency prevention, social services, public health, and national and community service--provide vulnerable youth with opportunities to develop skills that will assist them in adulthood. […] 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."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33975