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.
Reporting in November 2022, we are now in a second phase of implementation urging the main political parties, national and local partners to commit to our proposals.
The Commission on Young Lives is chaired by Anne Longfield CBE, the former Children’s Commissioner for England, and 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 Commission has been working with a panel 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 the Commission has produced a new way to bring hope and success to young people, through education and personal support.
Since its launch, the Commission has published four thematic reports, setting out its recommendations for reforming children’s social care, support for families, the education system, and children and young people’s metal health services. You can find our four thematic reports here.
In November 2022, the Commission published ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’, its national plan to support vulnerable teenagers to succeed and to protect them from adversity, exploitation and harm. The report sets out our recommendations for fighting back against those who groom and exploit children and how to provide the right support to vulnerable teenagers to help them to thrive.
Our recommendations include:
The report also calls for Government to hold regular COBRA meetings to tackle the scourge of serious violence, turning the Department of Education back into the Department for Children, Schools and Families with additional responsibilities for protecting vulnerable children and tackling serious violence and exploitation, and a national mission to identify and remove racial bias in systems that means many Black, Brown and Minority Ethnic children fall through gaps in services and into danger.
You can read the report below.
We are now in our implementation phase, campaigning for our proposals to be taken up by those who can implement them, through a programme of events, briefings and parliamentary work.
We will continue to be making the case for change and will be urging the main political parties to commit to our proposals in the run up to the next General Election.