We need better for our young people

IT’S hard to ‘prove’ factors that shape our society, but in my research the following trends recur and are not slanted by any bias that I can detect. They’re just based on facts.

CIVITAS, a respected independent think tank devoted (amongst other things) to discovering solutions to social problems, reveals that between 2000 and 2010 the number of 15 to 17-year-olds in prisons in the UK doubled.

It also revealed that it costs £100,000 a year to keep one young offender in prison and that the ex-offender is much less likely to find employment and much more likely to be imprisoned again than the rest of the population (ref: www.civitas.org.uk/crime/factsheet-YouthOffending.pdf).

NACRO is the biggest crime reduction charity in the UK, working with 83,000 individuals across 300 communities, and they concluded after a recent study that “only 14 per cent of the sample of the offenders (that they reviewed) lived with both biological parents”, making this the largest single factor determining youth behaviour. (ref www.nacro.org.uk/data/files/nacro-2004120103-409.pdf).

The spring 2012 East Sussex County Council journal ‘Your County’ says that it is (we are) making a multi-million pound contribution to “ensure continued high quality services in the face of the rising number of children referred for support and in care.”

But much more important than the financial implications, behind every young person who lands up in prison or in care we find emotional disasters, wasted opportunities and adverse consequences for the rest of society.

So, if living with two biological parents is the most significant single factor in improving the situation, should we as a nation consider taking active and effective steps to promote the re-establishment of families in which young people are loved and cared for by two biological parents? For the good of all of us, but especially our children and young people?

Because, although its occasionally in the words that the Government Coalition are saying, I’m not seeing it in what they are doing or planning to do, and I’m not seeing it in the statistical trends on families or offending, which are frankly dismal.

Mr Cameron, Mr Clegg, Mr Barker?

Bob Harper

Marley Lane, Battle