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Start from the street and work your way up

It's pretty much accepted that you learn about youth work first and detached work later, as a specialism. As the debate rages about "the future of youth work" and the state of our values, I'd like to suggest we turn that round. What would it look like if we started with detached youth work?

Tories would create a youth-friendly society

While the government has introduced welcome initiatives, such as the youth opportunity fund and mentors in schools during its 11-year tenure, the sheer number of youth programmes that have come and gone have left many professionals experiencing initiative overload.

Too much, too young for teen parents

Too much has already been written about Alfie Patten. When the story of the "boy dad" broke, it quickly became The Sun's most popular online article ever. It recorded 3.9 million unique visitors in just one day - more than double the previous high of 1.6 million.

You can't define an entire generation

In current political debates, academic literature and media coverage, there is a risk of becoming convinced that young people are characterised by under-achievement, teenage pregnancy, mental ill-health, criminality, homelessness and substance misuse.

There is funding beyond Whitehall

There's no doubting that the 201.7m the government is investing in youth facilities will create some fantastic venues for young people over the next few years.

Tory policy still needs some improvements

There is a very real prospect that the next government will be a Conservative one. So it's encouraging that apart from the small matter of a global economic crisis, issues affecting children, young people and families took centre stage at the party's annual conference this week.

What we need is a trusting society, Darling

"What I want to avoid is getting ourselves in a position governments have done in the past where you face an immediate problem and cut back on things the country will need in the future," Chancellor Alistair Darling said last weekend.

Are youth workers prepared for bereavement?

As we read almost weekly of the death of another young person through violent crime, it is perhaps easy to forget that young people die, albeit fairly rarely, from a range of causes. When those young people have been associated with youth work projects, the immediate question is what can, or should, youth workers do?

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