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ADCS response: Commission on Young Lives

Steve Crocker, ADCS President, said:

“The Commission’s final report draws on the findings of its four thematic reports to set out a national plan of action for change. Any efforts to prevent children and young people from adversity, exploitation and harm are welcome. The report calls for a focus on earlier support for children and their families to prevent crises and for a greater level of investment in them, both of which are long overdue. We agree with the Commission that the recommendations from the children’s social care review must not be ‘kicked into the long grass’. We need to change parts of the system that are not working for children and families, significant government investment is needed to achieve this.

“Youth services are a key part of early help, they offer young people positive activities, opportunities, and safe places to go, yet they were amongst the many vital services local authorities were forced to cut during a decade of austerity. There is a clear role for youth services to play in helping children and young people recover from the effects of the pandemic too. Now is the time for ‘a return to investing in children and their families’ and the services that support them, not a return to austerity.

“The Commission adds its voice to calls for youth justice reforms, for urgent action on child and family poverty and on removing the racial biases that children face. It also calls for desperately needed investment in a mental health recovery programme for children and young people. Serious violence, criminal exploitation and harm should be a national priority, and so should providing help and support to children and families at the earliest possible opportunity. The country is facing many competing challenges including the ongoing impact of the pandemic and a cost of living crisis and the Chancellor will have some tough decisions to make. However, children must not bear the brunt of austerity again; the financial and human costs would be too great.”


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