Young people key to family policy
Monday, October 11, 2010
Young people are calling on the government to deliver a youth policy that does not isolate them from family life, according to a survey conducted alongside an 18-month inquiry into families.
Seen exclusively by CYP Now, the young people's survey, which questioned more than 600 14- to-19-year-olds, accompanies the Family Commission report by charity 4Children that is set to be published this week.
The survey found that 69 per cent of the young respondents are happy or very happy with their family life and only eight per cent were unhappy. The top three favourite things about family life identified by young people were support, security and fun.
Just more than half of the young people said the worst part about their family life was arguments.
The survey's other recommendations were for government not to cut the education maintenance allowance, to introduce a national youth transport card and to work with the media to achieve more positive portrayals of young people.
4Children chief executive Anne Longfield said the results showed young people do not want to be considered independently but as part of the family unit.
"Young people absolutely want families to be part of the solution," she said.
"There has to be a dynamic between youth and family policy."
The two young family commissioners who conducted the survey said the top recommendation for the government was to listen to their views.
Josh Dowgill, 19, who led the youth survey alongside 16-year-old Meadbh Dempsey, said: "What's important, not just for me but for all young people, is that our voices are included in campaigns that will be heard by policy makers. Young people should not be overlooked, particularly when it comes to issues like the family, which directly impact on their lives."
The survey has now been fed into the wider recommendations of the commission, which are being pro- moted to the government's Childhood and Families Taskforce, chaired by Prime Minister David Cameron.
"It comes before the spending review [and] before local authorities make their decisions locally about what they prioritise," added Longfield. "The message is that they need to look at young people, at families in the round, and invest and believe in those communities."