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Three key issues of the 2010s to fix in the 2020s

The new government will need to solve quickly a number of longstanding issues affecting vulnerable children and families if it is to offer a more optimistic outlook for a children’s sector worn down by a decade of austerity.

Prioritise help for homeless young people

Housing charity Shelter released some worrying statistics in early December, highlighting the number of children expected to be homeless or living in temporary accommodation over Christmas would hit a 12-year high.

Trust young people to make their vote count

With the general election looming, our thoughts turn to prospects for the future and as the old joke about someone asking the way goes “if I were you, I would not start from here!”

Trial shows votes at 16 is a verdict to support

I undertook jury service at the Old Bailey earlier this year. The case I adjudicated on was not a conventional trial, but deciding if the country is ready to lower the voting age to 16 for all UK elections.

When care practice outflanks the law

It is 30 years since the Children Act 1989 received Royal Assent and despite the fact it has not subsequently been repealed or even substantially amended, the current "crisis" in the care system suggests that practice has drifted away from two of its key principles: that the state should work in partnership with parents; and that if families can be supported without recourse to the law, they should be.

The importance of dads in the early years

During Mental Health Week, the Movember Foundation published its survey on new dads and there was some striking similarities with findings from a consultation we did with men in Blackpool about their experiences of being a new dad.

Charities must evolve to stay relevant

In June 1844, a young man met with his colleagues in an upstairs room of a drapery store just a few yards from St Paul's Cathedral in London. That young man was Sir George Williams and the meeting resulted in the formation of the YMCA.

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?