Young people, common sense and a new government

I spent a humbling morning yesterday at Young Futures and learned a lot.

It’s an inspiring organisation which helps young people who have experienced seriously tough childhoods progress from care into a decent future.

Without diminishing it, what struck me most was that Young Futures’ work was hardly difficult to describe. They simply cared for vulnerable, often damaged people in a thoughtful, structured, respectful, individual way — from ensuring arriving teenagers can personalise their own bedrooms, to fighting an unusual student’s cause in the face of inflexible organisations and crude government targets.

It was shocking to me that Young Futures seem to be outliers in an otherwise bleak and under-resourced system. It seems that “education” is now so narrowly viewed that it does not cover nurturing the social and emotional skills and resilience that many of us take for granted. Even ignoring the moral imperative here, this costs our society enormous amounts of money over the long-term — from healthcare to incarceration.

As we contemplate five years of government by an administration not notable for its compassion or acknowledgement of complexity, I only hope a little of the spirit I experienced yesterday can infuse our politics.

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