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Embarrassing custody rates require creative solutions

The high number of young people held in youth custody in England and Wales has been a cause of national embarrassment. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has quite rightly raised concerns at the levels of young people held in our youth jails in its recent reports. Despite impressive reductions in recent years, more than 2,000 under-18s were in custody in May.

Youth Work Now: Youth work provides a sanctuary

With all the discussion in youth work circles about a much tougher evaluation of outcomes, payment by results and mechanisms for using social impact bonds, I wonder if anyone has given a thought to one of the lesser stated roles of youth work: sanctuary.

Chop the managers and risk decapitating the youth service

If you take the head off, the rest of the organism will fail. There sits the central nervous system, the main sensory faculties without which the body cannot function. Incidentally, you also deprive the creature of memory, in humans a vital function if we are to learn the lessons of history.

Youth unemployment: the solutions exist

We have seen the headlines screaming at us that one in five young people are jobless, that youth unemployment has hit a "record high" and that the problem is now a "national crisis".

The evidence is there, but it is difficult to see

There was once a rather intimidating youth service inspector whose opening question was invariably: "What do you achieve?" Some colleagues, in anticipation of his visit and this question, constructed elaborate unit plans setting out their intended "outcomes", while others blagged an answer on the spot.

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