To assist disconnected youth, a Family Navigator responds to requests or referrals to assist Baltimore County teenagers and young adults, ages 16-24, who are not working or enrolled in school.
Family Navigators have identified common barriers to youth obtaining education or employment such as: low income, pregnancy and parenting, disability, a youth placement in foster care, homelessness or involvement in the juvenile justice system.
Family Navigators can listen to youth and identify programs developed to assist them to reach their employment or educational goals.
Many “opportunity youth” — youth who are not working or in school — would benefit substantially from gaining work experience but need help overcoming barriers to employment and accessing the labor market. In response, advocates, policy makers and program providers are driving a growing national movement toward better helping opportunity youth succeed in employment. Those opportunity youth facing the most significant challenges, such as extreme poverty, homelessness and justice system involvement, often need even more intensive assistance in entering and keeping employment, and are at risk of being left behind even by employment programs that are specifically designed to serve opportunity youth. There is limited evidence supporting best practices in employment services for these young people, although numerous program providers are developing and implementing innovative techniques for helping those youth facing the most barriers to enter and succeed in employment.
– May 2015, Research Brief, Heartland Alliance National Initiatives