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Action needed to help girls in custody

A decade ago, there was an average of 166 girls in custody at any one time. Now there are only 28, a more rapid fall than that for boys. This is good news, of course, but a recent report by Pippa Goodfellow, director of the Standing Committee for Youth Justice, highlights why there is no room for complacency. Here are three reasons why.

Embrace the unpredictability of adolescence

In 1802, Wordsworth wrote: "The child is father to the man." In 2019, the phrase has added meaning: Greta Thunberg, at 16, has shown us a clarity of thought and purpose that puts world leaders to shame and she has inspired young people to speak out and to take action through school strikes.

Build communities to tackle knife crime

Over the past few weeks YMCA has been approached by a number of different media outlets asking the same question: Is the rise in knife crime among young people due to youth service cuts?

Naming child offenders harms rehabilitation

The recent naming of the 16-year-old child who murdered six-year-old Alesha MacPhail on the Isle of Bute raises once more very uncomfortable issues about the naming of child defendants in criminal cases.

Let practitioners solve today's challenges

In 1939, George Orwell wrote: "We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men." Orwell was reflecting on the nature of power at the end of a decade that had witnessed widespread human misery.

Let's adapt our language to 'tell it like it is'

At a recent United Nations meeting, 15-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg said: "We have to speak clearly no matter how uncomfortable it may be…You are not mature enough to tell it like it is - even that burden you leave to us children."

Time for an end to 'children at risk' headlines

Have I Got News for You has a game based on guessing missing words in headlines. Perusing the papers recently, I noticed a headline: "X is putting children at risk, Xs say". Over the next few days, I read several other articles which this headline would have suited. Before I fill in the gaps, spend a few seconds thinking of a few words that might fit - it won't be hard.

Time to invest in the children's workforce

Ask children's services leaders - whether a director of children's services, head teacher or nursery manager - what motivates their staff, and most will say it's a passion to improve outcomes for children, not the wage that comes with it.

Education cuts undermine SEND reforms

An Ofsted report into the support (or lack of) for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)published in December was reported as a "national scandal". True. But who's to blame?