Youth Development: - Lee Russell

When we talk of Youth development we want to start with the environment a young person spends their time, as the fundamentals of social housing infrastructure which outline social position, life chances and wellbeing standards, differ dramatically and due to policy changes many parts of social housing lack regulation start decaying they become homes for the disadvantaged who are left to improve their own misfortunates. People who live in large cities in close proximity but hardly know one another, in the UK Black & ethnic minority groups live in deprived areas predominantly, with poor quality housing many suffer with health problems. living within structurally unsound, overcrowded, inadequately heated residences. While others in the same city have more affluent places, people have spacious homes and 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 for 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 with 4 of the 10 where they would prove to be 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.

Taking the role 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 CJS, compared to their peers also 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 ceased to exist, youth organisations like connextions shut down and the integral role of youth clubs in communities have all but disappeared as young people’s funding has subsequently been cut by central Government and Local Authorities. Many commentators say this along with absent fathers is another contributing factor when it comes to young people's development especially with a view of the Black young persons experiences and using the ACE’S as an academic standpoint, let us take the view that many stereotypes of Black men as irresponsible or uninvolved abound 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 doing a disservice and 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 developing, parental separation or divorce on account of relationship breakdown. 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 ACE’S showing the upbringing of many children can be problematic, issues within education and the CJS, crushing pressures on mental health provisions, non existent 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 developments importance 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.