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Bringing Everything I Am Into One Place: Summary report

An Inquiry into how we can all better support young people facing severe and multiple disadvantage

Bringing Everything I Am Into One Place is the result of an Inquiry undertaken and led by the Dartington Social Research Unit and the LankellyChase Foundation. It is based on conversations in large and small groups with over 100 people whose life or work gives them expertise about the situation of ‘people facing severe and multiple disadvantage’. The term is a code for dealing with a combination of homelessness, drug misuse, disconnection from the world or work or education, and much else as well. The focus was on young people aged 16 to 30 years, but most findings apply to all age groups.

The conversation was open-ended and was guided by two principles: first, that there should be a focus on system reform; and second, that there should be strong engagement with young people with direct experience of severe and multiple challenges in life.

The work reflects the views of those who contributed. There is little from young people not known to public systems, or those currently weighed down with massive challenges in life. The voices of family members of the young people, or those in civil society who are lending a helping hand, 3are less well heard. The report says more about what the 100 participants could agree on than about points of disagreement.

What is severe and multiple disadvantage?
The Inquiry looks at young people facing severe and multiple disadvantage. This is not a condition. A young person is not severely and multiply disadvantaged. Rather, the disadvantage is something that is encountered. The definition is built from ideas about risk. ‘Disadvantage’ captures risks such as family conflict, addiction, poverty, or lack of resources. Disadvantages increase the chance – the risk – of serious and lasting damage to health and development.

The word ‘severe’ indicates that the amount of risk being faced is more than is ordinarily encountered, even by those who live on the edges of society. Pull back the ‘family conflict’ label and violence emerges. Scratch at the surface of the diagnostic notes that say ‘addiction’ and huge excess is revealed.

‘Multiple’ is a reminder that it is not one risk but many. These young people are experiencing family problems plus social difficulties plus a lack of somewhere safe to live plus a reduced chance to excel in school or work plus many other
risks.