Disconnected & At-Risk Youth & What Connecticut is Doing to Support Them

October 18, 2023

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Dear Neighbor,

Connecticut-based Dalio Education recently released a report it commissioned that focused on "disconnected and at-risk youth" and found more than 63,000 young adults were disconnected, and 56,000 students were at risk between 2021 and 2022, according to the compiled data.

These are young people who have either dropped out of school or are in danger of dropping out of school, and who are, for those aged 18 to 26, unemployed and in many cases unemployable. 

Read the Report

A number of laws were passed in the last two legislative sessions meant to help disconnected and at-risk youth.

2022 Legislation - School-Based Health Centers (
HB 5001, SB 1, HB 5506)

  • 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-ins 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 with PA 23-90)

2023 Legislation - State Budget (HB 6941)

  • 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

This report shines a light on critically important data that shows elected officials, state agencies, and branches of government must collectively work better together to bring more stakeholders into this conversation, so that "at-risk and "disconnected" youth do not become "lost" adults.

As always, please feel free to contact me to share your ideas and concerns.

Roland Lemar
State Representative

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