For many Maine youth, the teenage years are even more challenging because of serious economic, family or life issues.
More than 43,000 Maine children currently live in poverty. Research tells us that these kids – 17% of the youth population of Maine – are more likely to experience homelessness or involvement in Maine’s foster care and juvenile justice systems. Once involved in these systems, youth are less and less likely to live up to their full potential.
We believe the best way to help more older youth (ages 16-24) successfully transition to adulthood is to take a targeted and comprehensive approach to supporting those who face such significant challenges, often without guidance from a caring adult in their lives.
Successful transition to adulthood can be difficult, even in the best of circumstances. For many Maine youth, the teenage years are even more challenging because of serious economic, family or life issues. These young people often need additional help to successfully navigate their way to educational success, financial stability, independence and well-being.
According to an estimate by the Maine Development Foundation, helping vulnerable young people succeed has the potential to add more than 6,000 workers to the state’s labor force. Analyses from the national Opportunity Youth Network found that a $30,000 one-time investment designed to connect a young person to education or training and work will save taxpayers $65,230 over a lifetime, while generating $105,500 in new tax revenue. Maine alone stands to gain $29 million in savings by investing in just 1,840 of its most disconnected young people. In a state of our size, that can make a huge impact. Seen in a prudential light, the best investment the people of Maine can make for the future of our state is in its young people.
We direct our resources to strategies that:
- Advocate for policies and practices that improve results for system involved youth;
- Promote collaboration, particularly among high schools, colleges, businesses, nonprofits and public agencies; and,
- Can connect more vulnerable young people to resources and supports that can help them complete their education and connect to the workforce.