Penn State program prepares counselors to help at-risk youth

The Counseling Youth at Risk program offers the latest research and techniques for working with youth who are dealing with family, addiction, depression or other issues

Of the 74 million children in the United States, one in six lives in poverty, nearly a million suffer abuse or neglect, and one in 15 drops out of school, according to a report from the Children's Defense Fund, a nonprofit child advocacy organization. To equip the professionals who help children and adolescents cope with the challenges they face, Penn State is offering a certificate program at multiple campuses throughout Pennsylvania starting this fall.

"Today's youth are under tremendous pressures and need more help at a time when budgets are being cut and fewer services are available for children and their families," said Richard Hazler, professor of counselor education and head of the Counseling Youth at Risk program. "You can't pick up a newspaper or watch a newscast without learning about an issue affecting youth."

The 15-credit certificate program is designed for professionals, including school counselors, social workers, marriage and family therapists, psychologists and educators who work with at-risk youth, as well as for those interested in changing careers. The College of Education is offering the program through the Penn State Video Learning Network at these locations: Penn State DuBois, Fayette, Greater Allegheny, Hazleton, Lehigh Valley, Schuylkill, University Park and York campuses and the Learning Center in Lewistown. Courses will originate at University Park campus and be transmitted to the other locations every other Tuesday evening for eight weeks and also will include online activities.

"The program will give participants a greater understanding of the difficulties children face," Hazler said. "Participants will learn techniques, emerging research, and resources they can use to help children." Course work can be used to meet professional continuing education requirements, including Pennsylvania Act 48 requirements for educators.

For information about the Counseling Youth at Risk certificate program, visit the program's website.

Penn State Continuing Education
offers a venue for adults to return to the classroom. Continuing Education reaches more than 30,000 adult learners annually at Penn State campuses statewide. Continuing Education is part of Penn State Outreach, the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education. Penn State Outreach serves more than 5 million people each year, delivering more than 2,000 programs to people in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and 114 countries worldwide.