NCB's trip to Parliament: Raising awareness of the gap in services for young people

On the 30th of April, the National Children's Bureau left their East London office for Parliament, to raise awareness about the gap in services for older teenagers in transition to adulthood. From housing to mental health, fissions in society are leaving young people without vital support, a greatly concerning trend that is felt more keenly by vulnerable teenagers.

The parliamentary event was a fantastic opportunity to launch the report ‘Transitions to adulthood’, and engage with decision makers on what needs to change.

‘Transitions to adulthood’ – a cross-organisational report

This report from the Children’s Society brought together leading voices in the sector to present a series of case studies exposing the barriers different kinds of young people face to accessing support.

We teamed up with Mencap to represent the experiences of disabled young people. Disabled 16 and 17 year olds often need more support as they move into adulthood, and are often entitled to receive support up to the age of 25. Yet we know that many young people face a cliff edge of services when they turn 18, in vital areas such as education, child protection and youth justice. This is leaving young people without the support they are entitled to.

A lack of evidence on the outcomes of disabled children and young people makes this issue more complex to address. Current data does not accurately convey who needs support, what support they need and how this should be provided.

The parliamentary launch  

The report was launched at Parliament by its many contributors, who represented each corner of the sector. We were delighted to be a part of this force calling for change, and to see the event well attended by Ministers and MPs. The speakers included the host Vicky Ford MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Mental Health, Jackie Doyle-Price and the Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield.

It was a fantastic opportunity to engage with policy-makers on the needs of disabled young people. Many showed an interest and willingness to engage with our concerns, and we had some great conversations about the ambitions of disabled young people to work, get qualifications and live independently.

Next steps

Many disabled young people are missing out on support, a problem that is exacerbated by reductions in services and increasing thresholds, and gaps in funding.

Therefore, we hope the event will lay the groundwork for MPs to create a cross-department task force on transition. This commitment from decision makers across Parliament is vital, as no one department can make sure the needs of young people are sufficiently met alone.