Help for "Disconnected and At-Risk" Youth

October 25, 2023

A recent report commissioned by the Connecticut-based Dalio Education found more than 63,000 young adults were "disconnected," and 56,000 students were "at risk" between 2021 and 2022.

This identified group of disconnected and at-risk youth include young people who have either dropped out of school or are in danger of dropping out of school, and those aged 18-26 who are unemployed and in many cases unemployable.

Connecticut's Unspoken Crisis

To help combat this concerning crisis, several new laws were passed in the last two legislative sessions to help our disconnected and at-risk youth.
2022 Legislation - School-Based Health Centers (PA 22-47, PA 22-80, PA 22-118)

  • Provided grants to local schools to hire more support staff, including in the areas of mental health like social workers, psychologists, and counselors
  • Funded the expansions of school-based health centers and the services they provide
  • Created new walk-in centers for mental health emergencies
  • Initiated a new position at the Office of the Healthcare Advocate to help families navigate care for children and adolescents
  • Expanded 24/7 emergency mental health response
  • Established state oversight and coordination of state response to kids' mental health needs
  • Expanded mentorship opportunities
  • Helped school-based health centers develop new mental health programming
  • Assisted local schools in expanding mental health staff and access to care
  • Provided mental health training to parents, students, and pediatricians
  • Established the Transforming Children's Behavioral Health Policy and Planning Committee (legislation passed in 2022; updated in 2023)

2023 Legislation - State Budget

  • Prevented any town from receiving a funding cut to their local schools
  • Ensured more districts will meet eligibility requirements for the federal School Breakfast Program
  • Maintained funding to support our bilingual students

The Dalio report shines a light on critically important data that highlights the ongoing challenge faced by elected officials, state agencies, and all branches of government. House Democrats are committed to collectively working together to bring about more positive change so that "at-risk and "disconnected" youth do not become "lost" adults.