For the last twenty-five years, in Australia and in most western type countries, the planning of services for children and families has been strongly influenced by a series of ideological concepts. These concepts are: deinstitutionalization, normalization, least restrictive environment, mainstreaming, minimal intervention, and diversion. Together they are the central tenets of a paradigm (CTP) currently used by policy makers and human service planners. This paper argues that the use of the CTP has had an unintended negative impact. It has lead to the neglect of the most difficult ‘at risk’ adolescents and their families. What we have is a situation where services of sufficient power, intensity and duration (PID) needed by this group are not favoured since they do not conform to the CTP. For ‘at risk’ adolescents and their families this is socially unjust.