Most kids have stable, caring adults in their lives that provide them with the direction and confidence they need to face the difficulties of life. Parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, youth pastors, and others all contribute to a youth’s development.

However, too many children lack the influence of a positive role model and often grow up trying to figure things out on their own.  For some, the role models they follow are negative. For example, illicit drug use among youth remains a problem with 10% of 8th graders, 20% of 10th graders ,and 24% of 12th graders using drugs; and 13% of our nation’s youth do not graduate from high school or obtain their GED. What must be noted is that 14% of Black kids, 34% of Hispanic kids never complete high school, and 9% of White kids do not graduate. Clearly, there is a great need to get involve.

What happens to youths who don’t have good role models?

  • Lower Self Image
  • Decreased Cognition
  • Mental Health Issues
  • Behavioral Problems
  • Emotional Distress
  • Educational Challenges
  • Trauma
  • Involvement in Judicial System

Source: Child Welfare League of America

More Resources:

Forum on Family and Child Statistics


National Survey on Drug Use and Health

Child Welfare League of America

National Youth Violence Prevention Center

Family and Corrections Network

Source: Urban Institute, Justice Policy Center

*Child Welfare League of America

** America’s Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2004, Forum on Child and Family Statistics,