(Rochester, N.Y.) – Even though Monroe County developed a program to help troubled youths stay out of trouble, some say there's more that could be done.
By the time Tyquan Rivera finished sixth grade at City School #22, he was a drop out. Eventually, he wound up at St. Joseph's Villa, an organization which specializes in helping at-risk youth overcome emotional and behavioral problems and to build productive lives.
Rivera became the definition of troubled youth--truant and ungovernable runaways.
Monroe County Human Services Administrator Linda Oinen cannot say whether Rivera received county services, but she said the county's Family Access and Connection Team or "FACT" is set up to help youths like him "assessing them for services, engaging with them and their families, finding the appropriate level of services."
Oinen said the county developed FACT last year to better respond to the needs of at-risk youth, but in Rivera's case, she acknowledged that street culture is hard to fight.
“That's what we struggle with everyday,” she said. “Poverty is the other big issue. So many of our families are very, very poor.”
Indicators are that Rivera may have been in several local programs, including the city school district's Youth and Justice Department which is designed to provide education and counseling to young people who are not enrolled.
RCSD Superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard said Tyquan seems to have fallen through social system’s cracks.
“We have a situation in our city, maybe honestly in our country, where the different agencies have to talk to each other about where young people are,” Brizard said.
Both the county and the superintendent say volunteers must play a big part in identifying these young people early. They said it’s easy for people who don't live in the city to judge, but instead of doing that volunteer with the little ones.