Resources for Struggling Teens in Low Income Families

If you don't have a lot of room in your budget, but feel that your teen could use help in some way, looking for affordable outside help is a valuable way to get your child the assistance she needs. Many resources are available for teens who come from low-income situations, even if they have good parents and aren't troubled 3. Understanding the options available lets you make the best choice for your teen.

Community Resources

Most communities have services in place that provide help to struggling teens regardless of financial standing. Look for a mentor program in your area, which is an effective option for teens who need a safe place to hang out while you aren't available. Other before- and after-school programs provide homework assistance and meals for kids who are on their own for part of the day. Recreation centers give teens a place to exercise, play sports or spend time with friends, and most larger communities have one. Using these resources can positively impact rates of teen pregnancy, addiction, truancy, addiction and jail time, according to the PBS website.

Mental Health Resources

If your teen is struggling with anxiety, depression or another mental health issue, resources that address these issues are vital. A social worker can help your teen work through the problems and come to healthy and safe resolutions while also helping her find other resources and help as needed, according to Social Work Today. Overcoming or learning to deal with mental health issues helps a teen succeed in the classroom, form healthy relationships and refrain from destructive and dangerous behaviors. Social workers typically don't cost you money since they are paid by the state or federal government.


For some teens, going to a traditional school impedes their success because they struggle with making friends, respecting authority or understanding classroom material. Special schools that address these issues can help your teen overcome her specific struggles. Some of these are boarding schools where your teen will live part of the time and learn to manage her behavior, comprehend school subjects and get away from the situation that drives her struggles. Most of these institutions charge tuition, but many have grant or scholarship programs that allow your teen to benefit even if you don't have the money to pay.

Specialized Programs

For teens struggling with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, substance abuse, behavior issues, defiance, low self-esteem or a lack of self-control, specialized programs are an effective option that are sometimes covered by the state, depending on the nature of your child's needs 3. Wilderness programs are one option. Your teen will spend several weeks living outdoors with other teens and supervising adults. Children learn to make appropriate choices and overcome emotional problems through rugged activities, such as hiking and camping. Boot camp programs involve intense and rigorous discipline to change behaviors that include violence or crime, according to the Troubled Teen 101 website 3. Residential treatment centers are ideal if your teen needs more care and attention than you're able to provide. The homes provide licensed staff for education and therapy.