The damage to vulnerable young lives at risk is now well-documented.
Every day, young talent is being lost to gangs and the criminal justice system. The number of teenagers in danger of criminalisation, harm and violence, and diminished opportunities remains stubbornly high.
The horrors caused to children by county lines in England are well-known, and the methods used to entice and trap children into criminality are increasingly brutal and sophisticated.
Yet society is struggling to know what to do. Its response is often piecemeal, disjointed, underfunded and uncoordinated.
But it doesn’t need to be like this.
The ‘Commission on Young Lives’ launched in September 2021 to fight back with coordinated national action to transform the outcomes of the most marginalised teenagers.
It is a major year-long independent commission chaired by Anne Longfield, the former Children’s Commissioner for England.
Its aim is to devise, present and seek backing for a new and affordable national system of support, focussed on preventing crisis and improving the life chances of vulnerable young people at risk of getting into trouble with the law.
The Commission will be ambitious for all children, believing that every child in England should be given the support and help they need to succeed and to do well.
It is hosted and supported by the Oasis Charitable Trust, who have decades of experience of working in and with communities and empowering families and vulnerable children.
The systems that are supposed to protect vulnerable children are under pressure. Reform and innovation are needed badly. The ’Commission on Young Lives’ will show how we can achieve better outcomes for marginalised children by providing solutions, gathering evidence, and devising new models.
We will collaborate with our panels of commissioners, young people and other experts who have a lived experience of exclusion, gangs, and serious violence to provide practical and affordable ideas that local communities – backed by government, councils, the police and social services – can put in place.
Preventing young people from entering the justice system is in all our interests.
That’s why we are producing a new way to bring hope and success to young people, through education and personal support.