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Image © Commission On Young Lives

Out of Harm's Way

December 2021

The Commission on Young Lives, launched in September 2021, will propose a new settlement to prevent marginalised children and young people from falling into violence, exploitation and the criminal justice system, and to support them to thrive. Its national action plan will include ambitious practical, affordable proposals that government, councils, police, social services and communities can put into place. We are engaging with those in government and system leaders who have the power to create change, making the case for them to do so. Taking a public health approach focused on prevention, inclusion and supportive relationships, its work is steered by its commissioners, alongside panels of young people and practitioners.

The Commission is supported and hosted by Oasis Charitable Trust, a national charity that has been pioneering models of sustainable and holistic community development for 35 years. Oasis works in over 40 local neighbourhoods in England, delivering schools, housing, health and a wide range of other projects with young people and their families. It is also funded by the Passion Project Foundation, a charitable social impact aggregator and investor, which brings scaled investment to transform perennial social problems.

The Commission team is grateful to all those individuals and organisations who are supporting and engaging in our work.

We want to thank the young people who told us about how their lives have been shaped by the care system, before and after the pandemic, and who have shared their ideas about the kinds of changes needed to support children and those taking care of them. We have been blown away by their openness, insightfulness and empathy and are indebted to those practitioners who facilitated these discussions.

We also want to thank our practitioners’ panel, Young Lives Panel and all of those who made time to speak to us, including our expert witnesses. We are grateful to everyone who responded to our call for evidence. We have had 75 detailed responses to date and have drawn on many of these in this first paper and will continue to use these insights in our future reports.

Given the subject of this report is the relationship between being in or in need of care and the risks of exploitation, we inevitably focus on the system failures and shortcomings and how these are being tackled.

But it is also important to champion the excellent work being done in different parts of the care sector. This includes those care providers, foster parents, and adoptive parents, providing critical support, love and stability. The Commission will highlight some of this good practice, drawing on people’s lived experience and the insights and expertise of young people, parents and frontline staff.

More information about the work of the Commission and our expert Commission panel is available on their website: 

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