What needs does ROYAL fullfill?
Lack of Resources
Every year the numbers of children falling through the cracks of social service, mental health services, juvenile probation, and academic
systems increases at an alarming rate. At the same time, much-needed community-based intervention resources are decreasing because of
fiscal constraints. Those services that do remain in place have limited staff and are often being strained beyond their capacity to be
effective. Basic human needs including food, clothes, shelter and support from or for families are also overriding issues.
Disadvantaged and at-risk youth are vulnerable to mental health and low self-esteem issues, often join gangs, commit violent acts, engage
in drug and alcohol lifestyles or other behaviors that are harmful to themselves and others. Additionally, this population experiences
serious educational challenges that lead to academic failures, and they can be victims of child neglect or abuse, or even isolated from
Lack of Role Models
A lack of positive role models plus extreme pressures of a glorified media-depicted society can ensure that these young people stay on
the social fringe and never access services that can turn their life around
. Many drop out of school and end up in the juvenile justice
system because they have mental health disorders and/or low self-esteem, little or no independent living skills, and lack basic hygiene
and personal appearance knowledge. More sophisticated concepts such as appropriate behavior management and life and social skills need to
Our youth are at-risk, increasingly more so every day. This is evidenced by the following:
- Children (in California) younger than 13 are involved in 1 of 10 juvenile arrests. One of three arrests are for arson, one of five are for sex offenses vandalism (Child Delinquence Bulletin, March 2003)
- Very young delinquents are more likely to become violent and chronic offenders
- Over 50% of youth in the Juvenile Justice System have mental health disorders (Hearing on juvenile justice system, SFGOV,2004)
- 63% of youth programs in San Francisco report an increase in demand for services since 9/11 (Coleman Advocates Report, March 2003)
- Services for youth are disappearing, as evidenced by the growing number of city and county youth programs that have been eliminated, as well as the huge reduction of summer school classes in SFUSD.
According to statistics and reports from the California Defense Fund:
- A child in California is abused or neglected every four minutes
- Every five minutes a child in California is born into poverty
- A child or teen is killed by gunfire every 22 hours
- The number of juveniles arrested in 2003 totaled 242,392
- The number of children or teens in juvenile or adult correctional facilities in 2003 exceeded 16,248!
- The growing lack of services for at-risk youth is reaching a crisis stage given the growing number of youth desperately needing the interventions of just this sort of outreach.