Youth Development

When we talk of Youth development we want to start with the environment a young person spends their time. The fundamentals of social housing infrastructure which outline social position, life chances and wellbeing standards, differ dramatically and, as a result of policy changes, social housing tends to  become home for the disadvantaged.

It's not unusual for people who live in large cities and in close proximity to hardly know one another. In the UK Black & ethnic minority groups live predominantly in deprived areas, with poor quality housing. Many suffer with health problems. living within structurally unsound, overcrowded and inadequately heated residences. While others in the same city have better living conditions and spacious homes access to more opportunities and activities to those young people considered socially excluded.think of the perilous and devastating situation for those in Grenfell tower as the prime example.

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), are a set of 10 adverse experiences in childhood associated with an increased risk of poor health and other problems in later life, and can act as indicator towards what forms of Youth Development may be needed to support any young people. Those with 4 or more of the 10 indicating the most vulnerable.

The 10 original ACEs are:

There are many young people’s development being staggered by these above ACE’S and the environments they find themselves in.

Using the example of a missing father within the black community in the UK it is thought by some and reported by many that family breakdown and lack of male role models within the household is prominent, regularly cited as to why young black young people seem to disproportionately have contact with the Criminal Justice System. In comparison with their peers, this can also be something that crushes their development and life chances as many then get criminal records.

Since austerity the number of safe places for young people to go and develop have plummeted;  youth organisations such as "Connextions" have shut down and the integral role of youth clubs in communities have all but disappeared as young people’s funding has been cut by central Government and Local Authorities. Many commentators say that this along with absent fathers is another contributing factor when it comes to young people's development. With a view of the Black young persons experiences and using the ACEs as an academic standpoint, let us take the view that many stereotypes of Black men as irresponsible or uninvolved is largely due to researchers building on the ‘absence’ demographic, drawing their samples from among inner-city socially excluded communities, however many seem to be failing to take age and social disadvantage into account, failing to acknowledge high levels of involvement by Black fathers who do not live with their children full-time.

One adverse childhood experience which could be seen as a contributing factor to a young person's development is parental separation or divorce although recent studies of UK fathers in Pakistani, White British, Black Caribbean and Black African families found more similarities than differences in fathers’ behaviours, attitudes and aspirations, and the challenges they face.

We all want our young people to thrive and become the leaders of the futures however with ACEs showing the upbringing of many children can be problematic, issues within education and the Criminal Justice System, crushing pressures on mental health provisions, the lack of safe places for many young people to be and develop within their local communities, all the while going through a pandemic tells us we have some way to go.

Shining a light on the need for Youth Development's, the importance of its being put front and centre along with recommendations and legislation changes towards families and young people via policy makers and stakeholders will be first and foremost on our list of priorities.