What It Means to Be At-Risk and Why It Matters

What It Means to Be At-Risk and Why It Matters
It is likely that you have at least heard the term at-risk used in a variety of contexts, but you may not know exactly what is meant by this commonly used term. When working in a community or educational environment, one must be aware of the scope of at-risk groups so as to implement or guide them toward appropriate and effective supports or services. In this discussion, you will analyze a variety of descriptions of at-risk groups and behaviors associated with them for the purpose of acquiring your own working definition. You will include this definition in your website that is created throughout the course and finalized during the Week Six Final Project and make adjustments to your working definition during Week Six when you reflect upon how your definition has expanded.

Prepare for this discussion by reading the Week One Instructor Guidance and reviewing the following resources that provide descriptions of at-risk groups and the behaviors associated with them:

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: At-Risk Individuals

    • A website defining at-risk individuals.

U.S Department of Health & Human Services: Factors That Contribute to Child Abuse and Neglect

    • A website about child abuse and neglect.

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

    • An article describing violent behavior in children and adolescents.


    • A website defining the concept of being at-risk.

National Center for School Engagement

    • A website offering descriptions for youth at risk.

Initial Post: Considering the descriptions in the websites provided above, create an initial post that addresses the following:

f.  Discuss which of the websites most effectively described the term at-risk as it relates to establishing and enhancing your understanding of the phrase.

g.  Write a working definition of the term at-risk in your own words. Review the Week One Instructor Guidance for what constitutes a working definition.

h.  Explain what the personal value is in having knowledge of groups at risk in relation to your current or anticipated future work with children and/or families.


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