Think. Discuss. Act. Troubled Youth

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Troubled Youth Resources

[If you need information on counseling troubled youth, please look at our Counseling Resource List.]


[Listing of regionally located organizations located at the bottom of this page.]

Because I love You – A non-profit organization dedicated to supporting parents with troubled children of any age. A parent support group designed to help parents whose children have behavioral problems including substance abuse, running away, and attitude issues.

Department of Health and Human Services


National Center for Missing and Exploited Children 

National Runaway Hotline – Tel: (800) 231-6946

National Juvenile Justice Network – Advocating for policies and practices that are fair and appropriate for child in (or at risk of becoming involved in) the justice system through education, community-building, and leadership development. Resources and information under “Our Work.”

National Network of Runaway and Homeless Youth Services – 202-783-79491. The National Network’s mission is to “challenge the nation and ourselves to provide positive alternatives to youth in high-risk situations and their families.” Their programs include advocacy, public education, information dissemination, technical and training assistance, and an annual symposium. The Network represents over 900 agencies that serve youth and their families.

TypoStation – Based in Australia, Typo Station is an independent non-profit organisation operating an early intervention, life-skills, alternate education and mentoring program for troubled and vulnerable young men aged 14-17, who are experiencing significant difficulties at home, school and in their community.

Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System – Center for Disease Control – US National data on Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug use, suicidal thinking and behavior, violence-related behavior, sexual behavior and more.


Blaise Aguirre, Cynthia Kaplan, & Michael Rater (2007). Helping Your Troubled Teen. Fair Winds Press. – “Learn to recognize, understand, and address the destructive behavior of today’s teens.”

Anonymous. (2006). Go ask Alice: A real diary. Reprint. Simon Pulse. – Some teenage girls have shared in diaries what we never hear them tell us from the depths of young souls. This is a poignant and disturbing chronicle of teenager pain, which has impacted millions of readers since it was first printed over 30 years ago.

Howard Barbaree & William Marshall, eds. (2008). The Juvenile Sex Offender. 2nd edition. New York City: Guilford Press. – Profiles the juvenile sexual offender and discusses the development of sexually assaultive behavior.

Nancy Boyd-Franklin (2003). Black families in therapy: Understanding the African American Experience. 2nd edition. New York City: Guilford Press.

Fox Butterfield (2008). All God’s Children: The Bosket family and the American tradition of violence. Reprint. Vintage. – An attempt to objectively analyze American violence, racism, and values as a context for a family’s violence traced from slavery to the present.

Joy Dryfoos (1990). Adolescents at risk: Prevalence and prevention. Oxford Press. At risk adolescents are defined here as those who “have only limited potential for becoming productive adults” and are numbered at 7 million in the U.S. This book explores research and prevention around four key areas: delinquency, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, and school failure.

Herbert L. Foster (2012). Ribbin’, jivin’, and playin’ the dozens: The persistent dilemma of our schools. 2nd edition. Herbert L. Foster Associates. – Admittedly a white man trying to understand and control black street behavior, but no one else has tackled the issue of discipline and control in the classroom (camp or youth group) as realistically and come up with clear, positive guidelines. Still helpful and authoritative after being around since the 80s!

William Glasser, W. (1975). Reality Therapy. Harper & Row. – An appropriate therapeutic theory and practice for juveniles. See the chapter, “Treatment of Seriously Delinquent Adolescent Girls.”

Paul Holinger (1994). Suicide and homicide among adolescents. New York City: The Guilford Press. Ground-breaking study of the clinical and epidemiologic similarities and differences between youth suicide and homicide that lays a foundation for the development of public health policies and prevention strategies.

Muriel James & Dorothy Jongeward (1996). Born to Win: Transactional analysis with gestalt experiments. 2nd edition. Da Capo Press. – Helpful  principles, and exercises that make therapy, emotional health, and maturity available to all.

Alex Kotlowitz (1991). There Are No Children Here: The story of two boys growing up in the other America. New York City: Anchor Books. – The author writes a diary for two young brothers of Chicago’s Henry Horner housing project (Lafayette and Pharoah Rivers). A vivid and realistic introduction to life in such a project.

Jawanza Kunjufu (1984). Developing positive self images & discipline in black children. Chicago: African-American Images. – A demonstration of the unique contributions that are needed from the African-American and other ethnic groups in the American scene. Powerful and practical handbook of usable principles.

Les Parrott (2000). Helping the struggling adolescent: A guide to thirty common problems for parents, counselors, and youth workers. Updated and expanded ed. Zondervan. – This Christian guide to counseling teenagers describes adolescence, counseling and the role of parents before its encyclopedic like chapters on abuse, anger, anxiety, body image, depression, drugs and alcohol…including forgiveness and God’s will…to sleep disturbance, spiritual doubt, stuttering, and suicide.

Peggy Reeves Sanday (2007). Fraternity Gang Rape: Sex, brotherhood, and privilege on campus. 2nd edition. New York City: New York UP.  – The author is a professor of anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. This is a chilling, documented study of sexism run wild on college campuses. Confused sexual identities are seen behind casual and more violent sex.

Sharon Scott (1997). Peer Pressure Reversal. 2nd edition. Amherst, MA: Human Resource Development Press.

Jan Elise Sells (2012). Lost and Found: Healing Troubled Teens in Troubled Times. Siren Swan Press. – “Here are their stories-true stories of troubled teens (and preteens) who came to me feeling lost and allowed me to help them find healing. ‘It is my hope that my experiences will guide you when working with your own or other troubled teens. Unfortunately, they are everywhere; fortunately we can help them.'”

Susan Sheehan (1993). Life for Me Ain’t been no Crystal Stair. New York City: Pantheon Books. – Young motherhood amidst drugs and poverty.

Martha B. Straus (2007). Adolescent Girls in Crisis: Intervention and Hope. W. W. Norton & Co. – “A highly practical resource with concrete strategies and methods for helping girls in crisis by focusing on identification, diagnosis, and treatment of many of the troubled and troubling behaviors—including oppositional defiant disorder, trauma, eating disorders, and attachment problems, among others—what to look for before there’s a crisis (and in one), what to worry about, and, most of all, what to do.”

Michael Ungar (2004). Nurturing Hidden Resilience in Troubled Youth. University of Toronto. – “Ungar’s analysis of resilience and approach to intervention focuses on the unique group of youth who are labeled dangerous, deviant, delinquent, and disordered. He challenges what popular media refer to as a ‘youth problem’ and offers an alternative approach to troubled youth and suggests that we build upon, rather than resist, their constructions of resilience as a method of effective intervention.”


Clean and Sober (1988)-  Examines the defense mechanisms and manipulation often present among addicts.

Do the Right Thing – Ethnic struggles in urban centers.

Ordinary people (1980) – A story of family disintegration after the death of the oldest son, his mother’s favorite. Important struggle of the guilt-ridden, depressed, and almost suicidal younger son. Good counseling scenes.

The Outsiders (1982) – Kids feeling social rejection from a community’s popular, in-group.

Straight out of Brooklyn (1991) – Home-produced by teenage writer/director. Struggles of a working class, black family.

Local Organizations

California: Los Angeles Youth Network

Colorado: Dale House

Connecticut: The YMCA Crisis Shelter 135 Broad Street Hartford, CT 06105

District of Columbia: American Youth Work Center 1751 N Street NW Washington, DC 20036

Florida: Lutheran Ministries of Florida 1576 Airport Boulevard Pensacola, FL 32504

Massachusetts: The Bridge Over Troubled Waters 617-423-9575- This organization serves homeless people in the Boston area.

Christian Counseling: Abundant Life Counseling Center 1991 Mass Avenue Cambridge, MA 617-661-8829

Starlight Ministry for Street Kids 617-262-4567

New York: Covenant House (Under 21) 460 West 41st Street New York City, NY 10036

Vermont: The Fold Lyndon, VT 802-626-5620 – This is a faith-based residential treatment center.

Jennifer A. Seery, Dean Borgman, and Kathryn Q. Powers
© 2019 CYS

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