Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Education

Academic and Social Outcomes for High-Risk Youths in Manitoba

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Education

Academic and Social Outcomes for High-Risk Youths in Manitoba

Article excerpt

This study examined academic and social outcomes for high-risk youths in Manitoba, using longitudinal, population-based data. All children born in Manitoba in 1984-1985 who resided in Winnipeg the year they turned 18 were included in analyses (N = 11,703). High risk youths were defined as those involved with child welfare services, living in poverty, and/or having a mother who was a teen at first childbirth. Of youths with one risk factor, 41 to 57 per cent failed to complete high school, and 84 per cent of those with all three risk factors did not complete high school, compared with only 18 per cent of youths with none of the risk factors. Multiple risk factors put youths at an even greater disadvantage. Similar poor outcomes for high risk youths were observed for performance in grade 9, unemployment in early adulthood, and teen births. The findings suggest an intractable cycle of risk and disadvantage with farreaching social and economic implications.

Key words: high school completion, income assistance, child welfare, teen mother, population-based data

Ces chercheurs ont analyse, a l'aide de donnees populationnelles longitudinales, les resultats scolaires et sociaux de jeunes a risque eleve au Manitoba. Tous les enfants nes au Manitoba en 1984-1985 et ayant habite a Winnipeg l'annee de leurs 18 ans ont ete inclus dans leurs analyses (N = 11 703). On entendait par << jeunes a risque eleve >> ceux qui ont ete beneficiaires des services d'aide sociale a l'enfance, qui ont vecu dans la pauvrete ou dont la mere etait une adolescente lorsqu'elle a donne naissance a son premier enfant. Parmi les jeunes presentant un seul facteur de risque, de 41 a 57 % n'avaient pas termine leurs etudes secondaires contre 84 % de ceux qui presentaient les trois facteurs de risque et seulement 18 % de ceux qui n'avaient aucun facteur de risque. Les facteurs de risque multiples placent encore davantage les jeunes dans une situation precaire. Les chercheurs ont note de pietres resultats scolaires en 9e annee, du chomage au debut de l'age adulte et des grossesses precoces chez les jeunes a risque eleve. Ces resultats laissent entrevoir un cycle tenace de risque et de handicaps ayant des implications sociales et economiques d'une grande portee.

Mots des : obtention du diplome d'etudes secondaires, aide au revenu, aide sociale a l'enfance, mere adolescente, donnees populationnelles

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High school completion is an important milestone in an individual's life, a stepping stone for further educational opportunities, training programs, and employment. In an increasingly knowledge-based economy, high school graduation alone, without subsequent training or education, no longer guarantees employment opportunities; however, the lack of a high school diploma remains a significant predictor of negative outcomes, including poverty and unemployment.

Over the past several years, Manitoba has had some success at increasing high school completion rates. By taking the number of students completing grade 12 as a percentage of students enrolled in grade 9 four years earlier, Lowe, Couch, and Perrault (2007) found steadily increasing completion rates, from 70.1 per cent in 2002 to 75.8 per cent in 2006. Furthermore, results from international educational tests indicate that Canadian students do exceptionally well compared with other countries on measures of reading, mathematics, and science, with Manitobans scoring at the Canadian average (Bussiere, Cartwright, Knighton, & Rogers, 2004; Willms, 2004). Despite this rather positive outlook for Manitoba students, the research literature suggests that not all students are equally likely to succeed. The present study focuses on students with one or more of three factors that place them at risk of not succeeding in high school: (a) being involved with the child welfare system, (b) living in poverty, and (c) having teen mothers. The research literature, discussed below, suggests that these risk factors may be particularly detrimental to academic and social outcomes. …

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