First of all, what is your theory for why they are not in school? Because they are lazy? I mean, what I've read about public education in the US makes it seem like paradise on earth, so what could be keeping them from it?
And I didn't say that the kids are starving. They are part of a family, in an impoverished area, with relatives and friends who receive assistance (which they will no longer receive if they get a minimum wage job). In many families, like mine, everyone who can help out to make ends meet.
As to "stealing to eat", I never said that either. You're making stuff up, whole cloth, to create straw men. It's getting rather tiresome. They turn to crime to earn status, which is something teenagers comprehend very well. Consequences is something they comprehend a lot less well. And this is something they have been taught, and see in their surroundings.
Add to this that school does not pay (which is nuts in its own right - how can that be called civilization?) and getting a job means a risk that the family is pushed off of assistance ... well, they're hardly being pushed in the right direction by the system.
Tune society so that education and work provides status for them instead and see the the turnaround. Suddenly you'll have today's youths helping you build a better country for your future.
But to do that they need a fighting chance. When their role models are successful drug dealers, their family barely has money to scrape by and they are disincentivized to get education or a job the outcome is all but assured; a permanent class of poor people, and social instability.