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York conference to improve the prospects of city's youth
PLANS to help improve the lives of children and young people in York have been launched at a conference in the city today.
The ‘No Wrong Door’ conference at York Racecourse looked at ways to improve the lives and prospects of the city’s young people and introduced the new ‘Dream Again’ Children and Young People's Plan and a Charter for Disabled Children 2013 – 2016.
The Dream Again document outlines five main priorities such as helping families, reducing child poverty and boosting young people’s employment and training opportunities, supporting children who need extra help, doing more to help to young people dealing with mental health problems and improving schools and making sure there are enough places in the right schools for York’s pupil population.
It sets out what the council will do to achieve these aims – and how it will know whether it is succeeding.
The City of York Charter for Disabled Children 2013-2016 contains ten commitments to children and young people with disabilities, and involve them in designing services, offering them access to personal budgets, providing clear information about choices and supporting young people with disabilities as they become adults by providing access to employment volunteering, education and training.
Katie Walker, of York Youth Council, said in a recorded address to the conference: “We hope that by 2016 dreams of young people will be achievements no matter who you are or what your background is.”
The Dream Again strategic plan details that 14 out of every 100 children and young people in York are living in poverty.
Pete Dwyer, education chief at City of York Council, said: “We are already on the way to making York one of the best places in the UK to grow up in.”
He said among the numerous success stories in the city, York is considered the best local authority for looked after children being in suitable accommodation at the age of 19 and was second nationally for its work around adoption in terms of the percentage of children being successfully placed with adoptive parents within a good time frame. Mr Dwyer said teenage pregnancy rates have also never been lower in York.
Among other people to address the conference, which included a number of workshops, was Christine Lenehan, director of the Council for Disabled Children, who congratulated the new plans and emphasised the importance of integrating services and designing them around friendship.
Coun Janet Looker, cabinet member for education, said: “They say it takes a family to produce a child and a village to bring it up. I want York to be that village”.