Have you ever wondered or noticed how young people’s behaviour can sometimes replicates those around them. I only ask because as a social worker you are often asked about outcomes for young people and what are we trying to do to raise these outcomes.
But it is not just the people around the young people that affects their behaviour. It is the Police as demonstrated in the August Riots, and more importantly the Government. I am sure the Government are trying hard to reassure our anxieties and demonstrate that what they are doing is the right thing. And maybe if you are in a lucky position where you have money, savings and your own property or several properties you maybe pleased with what the current Government are doing.
However, if you are a young person just starting out, and more worryingly you are a young person in care. This message may not be interpreted the same, It may not even be the message you want to hear. As services are scaled down, cut and the amount of time of important workers such as Social Workers, Counsellors, Advocates, Youth Workers, Connexion Workers that is spent with you is squeezed down.
What does this mean? it means that for some young people they will not be getting enough support, it means that they will be anxious about what is going to happen to them. It means that their behaviours replicate this feeling. And what does this mean for everyone else? it means that the level of engagement is often raised by professionals due to placements ending, or the young person becoming involved in Youth Offending or Substance Misuse.
At present it does not seem that this will be possible, and will continue in this cycle until more investment either in resources or in workers who can provide support and opportunity for young people who maybe in crisis or the anxiety cycle. I do see this lack of investment as short sighted, as the longer that this is ignored the greater the cost on the individual and society.
It is also worrying as more and more people become affected by the current drastic cuts and changes to protect the few. Will those who are left be able to follow through with the “Big Society” dream? we know that those that need a tax break will continue to do their charitable bit. But will the rest of the society be able to pick up the gap left by connexions, Children’s centres or Youth clubs. Will they be able to go out on to the streets and engage disaffected young people and is this safe? does it leave vulnerable people to be lead astray and exploited.