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Finally, youth sector receives a boost

Given that he spent seven years limbering up for the job in opposition, there was some relief when Tim Loughton was named as a children's minister in the coalition six months ago.

Abolition of YJB is difficult to justify

The government's decision to scrap the Youth Justice Board (YJB) in last week's "bonfire of the quangos" is bewildering. In recent years, since the welcome demise of New Labour's Respect agenda, the YJB has helped to reduce first-time entrants to the criminal justice system and the youth custody population has come down.

Hidden costs of payment-by-results

We are in an age of austerity where outcomes are critical. So it is difficult to take issue in raw principle with the government's desire to commission more public services on a payment-by-results basis.

It's time to respect children's rights

You wait ages for one 20th anniversary, then three come along at once. We've just marked the fall of the Berlin Wall and the 1989 Children Act. And this week it is 20 years since the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child came into existence.

Education is the antidote to racism

The bear-baiting of British National Party (BNP) leader Nick Griffin in his recent appearance on Question Time did nothing to advance race relations in our country.

The next commissioner needs bite

The Department for Children, Schools and Families has fired the starting gun to recruit a children's commissioner for England to succeed Sir Al Aynsley-Green early next year.

Young people's 'endz' can be dicey territory

"There is hatred between people from different areas. Everyone is putting on this hard outer shell. If you put on that outer shell you have to act it out because your friends think that's who you are"... "If you are part of a gang then you're not a very free person and you'll be wanted in another area"... "Fear is one of the worst things that holds people back and controls them".

Editorial: The decline of the male youth worker

It's hard to imagine nowadays a time when male youth workers outnumbered female youth workers. But back in the early 1980s it was not unusual for youth services to employ twice as many male youth workers as women.

Editorial: Schools must face up to their duty to society

The onus on schools to maximise children's wellbeing, as well as their educational attainment, was stepped up a notch last week. Guidance issued by the Department for Children, Schools and Families stated that schools should be the "first line of response" for tackling gang culture.

Can social investment really change the world?

"There are few moments like this when something happens that can really change the world". That was the proclamation of Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude last summer as plans gathered pace to develop the UK market for social investment. Was he going a bit over the top? Perhaps; but only perhaps.

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