Services which provide support to children and young people are ‘disjointed’ and threaten their wellbeing in later life, a group of charities has claimed.
In a recently published open letter, they declared that with one in three babies born today expected to reach the age of 100, governments have typically taken an approach which has “mirrored the approach of many individuals: disjointed, head-in-the-sand, afraid to look too far ahead”.
The quality of a person’s later life depends their earlier experiences, the charities say.
“To thrive in old age [people] need a supportive childhood, a great education, a well-paid career, opportunities to contribute to their communities, secure savings, a healthy lifestyle throughout life, access to good support and social networks. And all of this before they reach old age, at which point it might be too late: it is not easy to prepare for later life when we are already old, we can just manage the consequences of what has come before.”
The letter calls on the government to review its strategies and a “bold, ambitious, long-term vision”, incorporating financial issues, housing, health, social care and employment. Signatories include the chief executives of 4Children, Barnardo’s and London Youth.
Rosie Ferguson of London Youth said:
“For young people to flourish as adults, we must invest in them during their youth and encourage healthy living, invest in education, training and employability, and provide a social support network. By making this investment sooner rather than later, we will equip future generations with every possible chance of being able to face down challenges in later life. Any such vision must look to developing them as confident, resilient, employable, healthy and socially responsible citizens.”
Photo by Seema Krishnakumar via Flickr