“You’re looking at a live picture of an epidemic. Each of these kids is someone’s son or daughter, brother or sister. But each can tell a painful story of separation. These kids have all run away, or their families have thrown them out. Right now the five hundred or so shelters around the country are filling up with teenagers seeking a haven, just for a night or two. Then they’ll rejoin the gypsy traffic of the streets, the bus terminal, the hovels and the hideouts of life on the run. If the essence of childhood is innocence, these faces are heartbreaking evidence of childhood in ruin. Of Innocence Lost.”
This special edition takes a look at the condition of 1980s youth in America. In particular, the program examines the problems of child abuse, runaways, high pregnancy rate, teenage prostitution, and crime. Rivera also focuses on youths from secure and happy families and how they have avoided these adolescent pitfalls. The program was broadcast live.