Youth At Risk

Youth sometimes come to our attention because of their own behaviors. 

We may get a report alleging that a youth ran away from home, has been engaging in risky behaviors or has been habitually truant from school (at least 20 days) without good reason.

Who Makes Reports

While reports may be made by anyone, these types of reports are often made by parents who are at their wit's end and don't know what to do. They have no control over their children and are requesting our assistance.

Family Services Involvement

Family Services will generally not get involved:

  • With youth between the ages of 16 and 17.5, unless they are at high risk of seriously harming themselves or others due to problems such as substance abuse, prostitution or homelessness
  • Until the family has exhausted all other options for help

Before we get involved, we'll talk to the family about any local services they have already accessed and refer the family to other possible sources of assistance in their communities. This could include a mental health provider, substance abuse treatment program or local coordinated services team.

Youth Assessment

If we are able to get involved, the social worker may use the Youth Assessment and Screening Instrument (YASI™) or other assessment tool to: 

  • Identify the youth's strengths and challenges
  • Measure challenges and strengths
  • Establish goals and priorities for behavior change
  • Gain a clear understanding of how the youth and family function as a system
  • Develop a plan for services that address the relevant issues

What Happens Next

Depending on the assessed level of risk, the social worker may:

  • Refer the family to services in their community
  • Provide services to the youth and family
  • Petition the court for temporary DCF custody of the youth