15:10 Thursday 13 February 2014

Chiefs keen to alter the paths of troubled teens after figures shock

Written byRICH GUTTRIDGE

COUNCIL bosses in Burton are set to hold talks over how best to support children after figures revealed the number of young people who are offending and currently not in work or in any form of education.

In the year to March 2013, around 1,400 people between the ages of 10 and 19 were convicted of offences in Staffordshire, while there are currently more than 2,500 people in the county classed as NEETs, meaning they are not in employment, education or training.

It was also revealed that during 2011, there were 469 teenage pregnancies, while 352 people under 18 were admitted to hospital for alcohol specific causes between 2008 and 2011.

The figures were released by Staffordshire County Council as part of its pledge to help more young people, while council chiefs in Burton are due to discuss the plans at a meeting on February 20.

In a bid to address these issues, county council chiefs are seeking to create closer ties with schools and colleges as well as health services, and have vowed to maintain the level of funding for vulnerable young people.

The council is also keen to take give children more options, in the hope of deterring them from crime and alcohol abuse.

It is keen to follow the lead of Northamptonshire County Council, which has seen take up of activities among teenagers rise since altering its youth services.

The authority plans to work with organisations in East Staffordshire, which they believe may be better suited to know where changes need to be made for children in the borough.

Currently in Staffordshire, four out of five children do not use youth services available, which Mark Sutton, county council cabinet member for public health and community safety, insists must change.

He said: “We want to find out why and we need to make sure they get more out of what they enjoy already and have what they need to move successfully from school into work and into the good life they want.”

A consultation on youth services can be viewed at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/consultation

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