Carey Oppenheim, chief executive of the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF), says youth work is struggling to overcome the “evidence challenge” of proving to government and council commissioners that its work can improve young people’s lives.
She states that youth work is a valuable method of early intervention but needs to prove its case.
“In the youth sector there is a lot of promising practice but the evidence gathering needs more development. One of the issues that has come through in our research into school age and young people’s social and emotional development was that the school sector was good at providing evidence of success, as it is easier for them to measure, as children have to be there. But it is harder to evidence in youth services. Young people don’t have to access it and it is also delivered in a far more varied way."
She suggests that the youth sector can act now to make the case for additional funding by making use of surveys so young people can assess their own well-being and skill development and she is asking the next government to do more to help the youth sector improve the way is evaluates success.