Youth and Policy: The final issue? Towards a new format

Youth & Policy is about to take a new, positive turn. We have copied below the editorial group’s explanation and hope to play our part in contributing to the journal’s continuing desire to be a critical and challenging voice.

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Youth & Policy: The Journal of Critical Analysis was formed 35 years ago in 1982, to address a need for ‘a serious journal of analysis and review which focused its attention upon the whole area of youth policy’. The journal aimed – and continues to aim – to address itself not only to youth work, youth services and education, but also to the wider field of young people and how young people are impacted by (and how they have an impact on) policy. The journal has been highly influential in the field and valued by students, researchers, lecturers, practitioners and activists. Those who set it up, and those who have been involved throughout the last 35 years – editorial group members, reviewers, writers, proof-readers, and others – should be justly proud of what it has achieved. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed in any way. However, the time has come for a change. In recent years, Youth & Policy has faced a few challenges, including:

 
• A steep fall in the numbers of high quality articles submitted. We are always glad to see excellent articles from our valued, committed and regular writers and new contributors, but overall the numbers are falling, and this means we do not have enough quality articles to release the journal on a regular basis. There are a number of factors underlying this decline in quantity and quality. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) and similar processes internationally tend to incentivise academics to submit to journals with high ‘impact factors’ – and while we know that an article in Youth and Policy has more likelihood of being read than one in most ostensibly ‘higher impact’ journals, readership does not count for a great deal. At the same time, academics’ and practitioners’ workloads are increasing exponentially, hence there is reduced time for any of us to write (or, for that matter, to peer review, edit and coordinate journals)! Sadly, it seems that many lecturers in the field of Youth Studies and Youth and Community Work are given negligible time – if any – for research and writing.

 
• A growing proportion of inappropriate and irrelevant articles are being submitted, which do not meet the remit of our journal and/or are not in any way ready for publication. Presumably this is also due to the ‘publish or perish’ culture. Often it feels as though we are receiving articles that have been rejected elsewhere and have not been adapted for our journal – we are not talking here about articles from the field, but irrelevant articles that do not address the aims of our journal and have often not been proof-read. It takes a great deal of (voluntary) time and energy to read through these submissions and provide helpful feedback.

 
• Technological challenges and workload pressures amongst some members of the editorial group have conspired to take the journal offline for periods and/or hold up the publication of some issues for an unacceptably long time. We realise that this may feed into the first challenge – the lack of quality submissions – but because the reduction in quality submissions predated our technological challenges, we feel that this is not the main factor.

 
We know that Youth and Policy continues to be valued, particularly by lecturers, researchers, students and (to some extent) practitioners in the field of youth and community work. We also aim to reach and contribute towards wider youth and policy related networks, beyond ‘youth work’ and its related practices, but it is less clear how successful we have been in regard to this aim in recent years. Overall, we have had a general feeling that Youth & Policy is not responsive enough (we know that we are too slow to publish time-relevant articles), is not reaching a wide enough audience, and is not attracting sufficient high quality submissions to sustain the publication of a journal that is produced regularly enough to contribute in a timely way to present policy debates. As REF-type procedures and heavy workloads are likely to continue to affect the quality and volume of articles received, we feel the time has come to make a change.

 
The way ahead
We have decided to move towards a more responsive format. The new Youth & Policy will continue to be free, open access and online, yet rather than having ‘issues’ we will instead publish individual articles, which can be published as soon as they have been prepared. Most of these articles will be much shorter – up to 2000 words in length. We are setting up a new website that will be easier for all of us on the editorial group to access and edit. We have now had all our ‘hard copy’ back issues scanned (a garagantuan task!) and will host these on the new website, alongside the full range of our existing electronic editions. We recognise that there will be some disadvantages to the new system, but we are confident that any that arise will be outweighed by the benefits. Needless to say, we will monitor and review the new format closely during the months following the launch. However, there are also clear advantages in terms of a much easier process, which will enable quicker publication. We believe that the new format will be easier for researchers, lecturers, students and practitioners to access and read, and hope that it will be read and shared more widely and attract more high quality contributions. We will still exercise a system of quality control, through a simplified and streamlined peer review process, and those academics who need to be able to say they are submitting to a peer reviewed journal will still be able to do so. We will occasionally invite longer journal-length articles, but these will be the exception rather than the norm.

 
We will continue to seek articles which provide a critical analysis of current policy issues affecting young people. We are keen to host original articles on a wide range of themes – education, employment, justice, health, identity, equality, youth services, media, campaigning, and many more. We hope existing contributors and new writers will be keen to contribute, so do look out for our guidelines for submissions. Our new format site will be up and running (at the same web address) within a few weeks of the publication of this final edition and we will launch the new format at an event in the autumn. We will also continue to organise conferences and seminars –note the advance date for our forthcoming ‘Youth Policy: Then and Now’ conference, March 9th– 10th 2018, which will draw together historical and present themes and research. We hope to see you all at these or other events in the near future.

 

Download Y&P 116 at http://www.youthandpolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/yandp116.pdf

Youth and Policy: The final issue? Towards a new format

Youth Work and Informal Education: Finding common ground
Tony Jeffs

Beyond the Local Authority Youth Service: Could the state fund open access youth work – and if so, how? A speculative paper for critical discussion
Bernard Davies

Scientism, governance and evaluation: Challenging the ‘good science’ of the UK evaluation agenda for youth work
Deirdre Niamh Duffy

Extending democracy to young people: is it time for youth suffrage?
Kalbir Shukra

Youth and adult perspectives on representation in local child and youth councils in Ireland
Shirley Martin and Catherine Forde

What, no coaching? Challenging the dominance of mentoring in work with young people
Tina Salter

Effective gang policy and practice: how research with ‘Black male youth’ problematizes the official definition of the UK gang
Ian Joseph

Social work with children in the Youth Justice system – messages from practice
Jane Pye and Ian Paylor

Organised Crime, Street Gangs and County Lines
John Pitts

The American news media and youth: distortion, defamation, demographic fear
Mike Males

Finding a better way of protecting young workers
Jim McKechnie, Sandy Hobbs, Emma Littler and Amanda Simpson

Margaret Mead and the ‘Unknown Children’
Mike Males

NO MORE CHILDREN IN ADULT PRISONS IN QUEENSLAND – CAMPAIGN SUCCESS

Siyavash Doostkhan reports that our friends at Youth Affairs Network Queensland have something to celebrate – witness to the truth that the struggle isn’t easy and is often long. In these difficult times victories are precious.

CAMPAIGN SUCCESS
NO MORE CHILDREN IN ADULT PRISONS

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After 20 years of campaigning by YANQ and other advocacy organisations, we finally convinced the state government to change the laws that allowed 17 year-old children to be locked up in adult prisons.

Just before 10pm on 3rd November 2016, the Youth Justice and Other Legislation (Inclusion of 17 year-old persons) Amendment Bill was passed by the House.

The Bill will increase the upper age of a child from 16 to 17 years and establish a regulation-making power to transfer 17 year-olds from the adult criminal justice system to the youth justice system.

With Labor and the Liberal National Party [LNP] tied on 40 votes for yes and 40 votes for no, it came down to the crossbenchers to pass the Bill.

Katter’s Australian Party MPs took opposing sides, with Robbie Katter supporting Labor in getting 17 year-olds out of adult prisons and Shane Knuth voting with the LNP.

Independents Rob Pyne and Billy Gordon also supported the government.

YANQ would like to congratulate the Labor Government, independents Rob Pyne, Billy Gordon and Robbie Katter for their ethical stance on this important legislation which brings Queensland inline with other Australian States and Territories and meets our obligation under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Two decades of agitating, education and organising by YANQ members across the state ensured the passage of this legislation in Queensland’s parliament. It was unfortunate that the LNP did not approach this issue in a bipartisan manner and reverted to their backward stance of being Queensland’s law and order hairy chested stalwarts.

Covering over the cracks continued – from Youth Work to Family Well-Being

Following upon Bernard’s criticism of the CYPN ‘evolution of youth work’article, its shallow attempt to suggest that somehow the assault on youth work is not so bad really, I’m copying a revealing exchange from our Facebook page. This conversation was sparked by the following question:

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Ta to dudleycypfnetwork.net

I have asked this question before, but I would like to hear again, as Lancashire moves it’s Young People’s Service and SureStart into a combined ‘Well-being, Prevention and Early Help [WBPEH] Service’. We will be case workers working with families who will be put through he Common Assessment Framework [CAF] as a condition of accessing the service. A caseload of 20 per full time post with 12 weeks to work with each family. All outcomes must meet Troubled Families Unit [TFU] criteria to pull down funding. Plus targeted group work with young people and parents in the evenings. this is what the Level 1 workers ( soon to be Grade 4 NJC) will be doing if on evening posts.
Are you working this way already?
What is the reality?
What is it like to manage workers doing this role?
What are the positives if any?
Have you been able to manage in a democratic way, given the inherently target based approach?
Can you retain the values and empathy of the youth work role?

Oh yes, and did I mention that open youth work would be minimal or non-existent? No? sorry, just assumed everyone took that as read…..

These are but some of the responses, which reflect the shifting priorities and dilemmas on the ground and the continuing integration, even disappearance of youth services/youth work. These scenarios are skated over in much of the debate about whether boundaries should or should not be blurred.

Check out Leicestershire County Council’s model. Sounds exactly the same but did this over 4/5 years ago. The merge was depressing, the youth work became very diluted. Ultimately it is social work but on a very low wage.  I now work in the voluntary sector

I’m Leicester City. We parted company with the CAF process about two years ago and moved towards an integrated early help/targeted youth support model at around the same time. Our full time workers and senior youth support workers are expected to carry a case load of Targeted Youth Support work as well as maintain delivery of open access youth provision or street based work. We’re about to enter into another ‘remodelling’ exercise which is likely to move us further along the road towards a social work lite approach to work with young people. We’re also part way through a process of closing down significant numbers of our youth centres and children centres. Indications are that the focus will be on more generic family support in the future. Crock of proverbial shit and precious little recognition of or support for any kind of critical pedagogy.

Qualification is an issue. As a Community & Youth Worker who has worked closely with Social Workers, I know enough to know that I am not a Social Worker. As mentioned above – deprofessionalisation. I have also worked with generic ‘children’s services’ – and Social Work training is not a suitable background for Informal Education or a group/community approach to intervention. Even superficial similarities can be misleading, with terminology having different assumptions & professional models behind them. I would hope to see ‘conversion’ courses – at PGC to Masters level – for people who already have appropriate Professional qualifications; but I suspect that this will not happen.

I’m in that camp, might as well get a Social Work degree and get paid 5k more. I don’t agree that youth work cannot do same job. I believe our training is better able to tackle social problems inside and outside the home. There are just different forms and approaches!! The danger is the criticism the Youth Work heard about Social Work not being present, available, being human – is that the pressure will turn our services into the same quick fix programme.

There’s no ‘community’ in our practice in Leicester City now. The community development element of our role has been sacrificed in order to free up more capacity to carry ever increasing case loads of Targeted Youth interventions! Since we moved to an early help model, we have no senior management who come from an educational background, informal or otherwise.

Sadly that mirrors the reality of many parts of the country. The first head of the combined ‘Children’s Services’ in one County seemed to enjoy going round meetings telling people the there was no such thing as a ‘Youth Service’.

Caseload of 20! That’ll last about a month. I don’t know anyone in children’s services with less than 35 and most working 40-50. The ideology is corrupt at its base and the methodology employed crap. The reason young people in these programmes and in care for that matter continue to have poorer outcomes is that those working with them are manacled to Key Performance Indicators that have a higher priority than furthering the education and options of the individual they are working with. Following procedure is the mantra, doing what is right for that young people in that place at that time has no credence whatsoever, even if it is agreed, if it’s not in the playbook it’s not allowed to happen, if it is allowed to happen it has to go through 19 layers of bureaucracy by which time the moment is lost and circumstances changed so it becomes irrelevant.

We’ve both worked for the same service for a long time – we are professionally qualified & anything under grade 7 NJC isn’t – we all have transferable skills to do the job – the question is do you want to? Caseloads, line management as a senior practitioner at grade 8 should be you target if you feel you can go forward with the WPEHS – for me it’s not just about paying the bills it vocational as I volunteered for 7 years – I love my job as a youth worker & agree with the above I never wanted to be a social worker & clearly the path to integrated social care is pending –

We still have the semblance of voluntary engagement in our service but this is becoming increasingly tenuous and I would be surprised if this survives the next round of remodelling and reviews and once this has gone, it just ain’t youth work in my view!

The only way to stop Youth Work from disintegrating is to forget informal education and go into desistance theory models. With academization the Education route is over. Youth Work is going to be a useful arm to any service, as we are the profession who knows young people best. The best chance of keeping open access Youth Work is through cosying up to the Youth Justice Board model.

Youth Justice Board don’t do it for me, rather cut loose if that’s all that’s on offer! We are still putting up a fight through my union in Leicester 😉

Quick note to say we need a post on desistance theory, which crudely is about the how young people, in this case, might be encouraged to cease being criminal or more broadly anti-social.

 

 

 

Negative Youth Justice: Creating the youth crime ‘problem’

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Ahead of the following event

CYCJ and the School of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of Strathclyde are hosting a free seminar event ‘Positive Youth Justice: Children First, Offenders Second’ as part of the School of Social Policy and Social Work Seminar Series 2016/2017.

Featuring guest speaker Professor Stephen Case, the event will commence at 4pm (for a 4.30pm start) on October 20 in the Collins Suite, Collins Building, University of Strathclyde.

If you would like to attend, please email cycj@strath.ac.uk

here’s the link to the first instalment of a two-part blog by Steve Case. now Professor of Criminology at Loughborough University, Negative Youth Justice: Creating the youth crime ‘problem’.

He begins:

Contemporary youth justice has seriously lost its way. An overview of international youth justice systems indicates a melting pot of strategies, structures, perspectives and interventions often bereft of clear purpose and guiding principles. There is no Occam’s Razor for youth justice, no KISS mentality (keep it simple and straightforward). Instead, we have an amorphous mass of multiple aims and methods desperately lacking consensus, continuity and identity – a bulimic system constantly pursuing improvement (often in the form of increased efficiency) through addition rather than reflection.

The Youth Justice System (YJS) of England and Wales, for example, illustrates a long-term government project that has painted itself into a corner and exhausted ideas for change, although not the compulsion for change. In the process, it has (to some extent at least) manufactured, sustained and exacerbated the very youth crime ‘problem’ it seeks to address.

This blog will explore the reasons for and impact of the negative youth justice that characterises contemporary youth justice systems; a youth justice approach that has sustained and exacerbated the ‘problem’ of youth crime. In my follow up blog I’ll offer a progressive solution to the youth crime ‘problem’: Positive Youth Justice.

Positive Youth Justice: Children First, Offenders Second, October 20, Glasgow

Message from Steve Case, now at Loughborough University, re this event.

Would love to see some IDYW folks in Glasgow. I’d like to think that you’d approve of the message!

This reminds me that we should get our act together and organise a joint event with the Positive Youth Justice folk.

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Positive Youth Justice: Children First, Offenders Second

CYCJ and the School of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of Strathclyde are hosting a free seminar event ‘Positive Youth Justice: Children First, Offenders Second’ as part of the School of Social Policy and Social Work Seminar Series 2016/2017.

Featuring guest speaker Professor Stephen Case from Loughborough University, the event will commence at 4pm (for a 4.30pm start) on October 20 in the Collins Suite, Collins Building, University of Strathclyde.

If you would like to attend, please email cycj@strath.ac.uk.

Seminar abstract

The Children First, Offenders Second (CFOS) model evolves youth justice beyond its contemporary risk focus and promotes a positive, principled, progressive and practical approach to the treatment of children in the Youth Justice System.

The measurement, assessment and improvement of the risk children present to themselves and others underpins and drives contemporary youth justice processes. However, the utility of the risk paradigm has been over-stated and is incapable of sustaining the faith placed in it as the guiding principle for animating youth justice practice. Nevertheless, there is at present no consensus about what approach to youth justice should or can replace risk as the driver of policy and practice.

In his seminar, Professor Case will outline the CFOS model as a manifesto for changing the Youth Justice System – a modern, economic-normative paradigm founded on central guiding principles for positive youth justice practice – child-friendly and child-appropriate, rights-focused treatment, diversion, inclusionary prevention, participation and engagement, legitimacy, the promotion of positive behaviour and outcomes, evidence-based partnership, systems management and the responsibilisation of adults. CFOS is a blueprint for a distinctive, principled, progressive approach to working with children; one that can be adopted and adapted by local authority areas throughout England and Wales, and by other nation states across the UK, Europe and beyond.

The evolution, trajectory and practical realisation of CFOS positive youth justice will be discussed with evidence from a 20 year programme of associated reflective research in Swansea, and the emerging success of an integrated, holistic and child-friendly delivery model in Surrey.