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This work provides an overview of the dominant philosophical approaches and practices in handling status offenders - the kinds of youth who habitually resist the control of their parents and schools, who run away from home, who drink and stay out after curfew. The three basic and competing social philosophies in responding to these troubled and troublesome youths are the treatment, deterrence, and normalization rationales. Local community services' response to status offenders in seven cities are investigated to determine whether local practices conform with the ideological thrusts embedded in state legislation.