Generation called lost in social shifts

June 23, 1993|By Dallas Morning News

A generation of American youth is disappearing in the shuffle of two-income families, unresponsive child welfare systems and economically depressed neighborhoods, a study released yesterday reported.

The National Research Council commissioned a panel of professors and child welfare experts to research the effects of social climates on adolescents.

The council, a division of the National Academy of Sciences, published the panel's findings in a book, "Losing Generations: Adolescent in High-Risk Settings."

"Basically what the study amounts to is it's not that education has deteriorated, but rather that the world has changed," said Alonzo Crim, a panel member.

"The same old rules no longer apply because of the rotten conditions that exist for kids," said Mr. Crim, a professor of education at Spelman College and Georgia State University, both in Atlanta.

The group concluded that regardless of income level, children's quality of life has been harmed by the nation's recession.

The report also stated that 52 percent of families with children and adolescents are headed by young adults ages 25-34. And 23 percent of those families were living below the poverty line in 1991.

Noting that many families need two incomes to stay afloat financially, the study reported that parents are increasing their work hours and spending less time with their children. About 61 percent of children have working mothers, the study said.

The panel also stated that inadequate health care, insufficient job training and traditional approaches to education reinforce high-risk adolescents' beliefs that they cannot succeed.

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