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Louisville’s Disconnected Youth and Young Adults

21,750 of all 16 to 24 year olds in Louisville/Jefferson Co, nearly one in seven, are neither working nor going to school, according to a report released last month by Measure of America.

The causes consequences can be complex and long-standing for individuals and the community-at-large. “Disconnected youth are cut off from the people, institutions, and experiences that would otherwise help them develop the knowledge, skills, maturity, and sense of purpose required to live rewarding lives as adults.”

Focusing attention on the increased rates of disconnection for black and Latino youth, particularly for those living in highly-segregated neighborhoods, the report states communities must turn their attention to the root causes, not the symptoms, of disconnection.

“Knitting disconnected, opportunity-scarce communities into the fabric of our wider society and creating meaningful pathways within them is the answer to youth disconnection.”

Kristen Lewis, Co-Author of “Zeroing In On Race and Place: Youth Disconnection in American Cities”

For more information on the Louisville’s disconnected youth …

TXT 4 Help

TXT 4 HELP is a 24-hour text-for-support service offered by National Safe Place to help teens access immediate help and safety. The service is available place

How it works:

  •  Teens can text the word “safe” and their current location (address/city/state) to 69866.
  • Within seconds, users will receive a message with the the closest Safe Place location and contact number for the local youth shelter.
  • Teens will then have the option to reply with “2chat” to text interactively with a mental health professional for more help.



Employment and Education Outcomes of Foster Care Youth

Of 19 year old respondents currently or formally in foster care:

  • One-third (34%) reported being employed either full-time (24%) or part-time (12%);
  • Forty-four percent reported receiving at least one form of financial assistance (other than public assistance) including Social Security (14%), educational aid (24%), or some other form of financial support (15%);
  • 70% were attending school compared to 47% of youth who were no longer in care at age 19 (Note: completing secondary or post-secondary education is one of the reasons youth are able to remain in foster care after age 18).

Source: 2013 Issue Brief National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD)

The US Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau requires states to conduct annual surveys of foster youth receiving independent living services through the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program. This report is a summary of national level data on the outcomes of 19 year olds who responded to the survey from Oct 2012 to Sept 2013.

Number of Youth and Young Adults in Louisville

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the total population in 2013 for Jefferson County, Kentucky was 756,832. Approximately 105,529 are between the ages of 14 and 24 years. This chart displays the estimated populations for two age groups and genders.


Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Selected Age Groups by Sex for the United States, States, Counties: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013. Release Date: June 2014

Free and Reduced Lunch in High Schools

The number of students in JCPS comprehensive high schools receiving Free or Reduced Lunch increased every school year from 2005-2006 (43.7%) to 2012-2013 (54.0%).

  • Of the 26,575 high school students enrolled in JCPS comprehensive high schools 2012-12, 16,742 qualify for Free and Reduced Lunches.
  • The District total for these high schools was 43.7% (2005-06), 44.6% (2006-07), 46.4% (2007-08), 47.0% (2008-09), 50.9% (2009-10), 52.2% (2010-11), 52.9% (2011-12), 54% (2012-13).
  • Only one high school (Atherton) experienced a decrease (-9.9%) in the percentage of students qualifying.
  • The highest percent increase was at Seneca (28% increase from 05-06 to 12-13).
  • The comprehensive schools with the highest percentage of qualifying students in 2012-12 were Central (83.1%), Iroquois (87.0%), The Academy @ Shawnee (81.1%), Western (80.5%), and Valley Traditional (77.4%).

These data do not include all public high schools in this district or non-public schools.

Source: Jefferson County Public Schools Data Book

Homeless High School Students

1,774 high school students are homeless, according to a JCPS report (2011-12)

The number includes only students attending JCPS comprehensive schools at the beginning of the school year and is self-reported.

Included in this number are youth who are sharing the housing of others including relatives and friends due to a loss of housing, economic hardships, or other similar reasons. This group includes youth temporarily placed by CFC or who are unaccompanied youth living in emergency runaway shelters, public or private nighttime shelters, special care facilities, spouse abuse centers, hotels or motels, and uninhabitable places such as cars, camping grounds or parks, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, or bus and train stations. Highly migratory children.

Source: Jefferson County Public Schools Data Book

High School Non-Completers by Race/Ethnicity

Percentage of 16 to 24 years who have not completed high school and are not in school varies by race/ethnicity. People of color are more than two times as likely to be a “non-completer”.

high school non-completers by race 1980 to 2010

The data also show the percentage of white 16 to 24 year olds who are non-completers has decreased since 1980 while the percentage of people of color 16 to 24 who are non-completers has increased in the same time period.

Source: Open Places Initiative: Equity Indicators for the Louisville Region; USC Program for environmental and regional equity, 2013

16 to 24 year olds Not Working or In School

An estimated 19,168 youth and young adults are not in school and not working in the Louisville Region.

Disconnected youth by race, 1980 - 2010

While this number is lower than in 1980, the total number of “disconnected” youth have been rising and becoming more diverse since 1990.

Source: Open Places Initiative: Equity Indicators for the Louisville Region; USC Program for environmental and regional equity, 2013

Barriers of Homeless Youth

The 1,075 youth (12 to 17 yrs) served by Safe Place Shelter House in 2013 face significant barriers:

  • 44% physically abused;
  • 57% diagnosed disability or illness;
  • 70% report school problems (truancy, failing grades, suspensions);
  • 80% from families at/below poverty

Source: YMCA Safe Place

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