RSS FeedFacebookSearch
Gary Younge
Why the UK sees Vermont as the future

The New England state of Vermont is the unlikely location for what British child protection agencies regard as a model of good practice in child protection.

Between 1992 and 1998 the number of child victims of sex abuse fell by half and physical abuse fell by 45%.

"Politicians love reorganisations," said Cornelius Hogan, Vermont's former secretary of human services, who pioneered the approach. "But they are useless if you don't understand that the well-being of children goes beyond any one organisation."

Vermont brought together anyone with an interest in child welfare, including schools, the police, churches, as well as government bodies into community boards. The state then provided them with information about how their local communities were performing where children's welfare was concerned. And then, armed with that data, they asked participants what they would like to improve and how they thought they should go about it.

By using the expectation of where they wanted to end up as a starting point, said Mr Hogan, who now works as a consultant on child protection around the country, he was able to carry a number of disparate interests groups along with him. "We organised more around outcomes than organisations," he said, adding: "There was nothing quick or outstanding. We didn't see results for three or four years."

By the end of the 1990s high school graduation had risen and Vermont had bucked the US trend in an increase in teenage pregnancies. Between 1990 and 1996 this approach saved the state around $16m (£9.7m) in avoided costs, almost half of which came from reducing teenage pregnancies alone.

"We're all asking the state to pick up the pieces of these awful family dysfunctions," said Mr Hogan. "You can lower the numbers but you cannot eliminate aberrant human behaviour."

© Gary Younge. All Rights reserved, site built with tlc
No Place Like Home – A Black Briton’s Journey through the American South
book review
'The idea of retracing the route is a great one, urgent and necessary.'
 follow on twitter
RT @wowfest: 📢📢📢 TIME TO ANNOUNCE OUR BLACK HISTORY MONTH FESTIVAL 1st October- 31st October Featuring @garyyounge @galdemzine @CallMrRobe
RT @theracebeat: We're looking forward to being in Glasgow next week with @garyyounge @arusaqureshi @shola_mcafro @Chess_Ess and many more…
RT @typemediacenter: #ICYMI, read @garyyounge’s recent five-part @guardian series on the challenges, tensions, and vast untapped potential…
RT @MSNBC: 2017 marked the first time firearms killed more people than motor vehicle accidents, according to a new report. https://t.co/zvf…
"Aimee was generous, always guiding outreach workers to homeless people she considered vulnerable. She was less goo… https://t.co/6M64Or8KoG
RT @LSHGofficial: The Staying Power of Peter Fryer - Discussion with contributions from @DavidOlusoga @garyyounge, and Terry Brotherstone.…
RT @DrFrancesRyan: “Austerity was absolutely a choice. You chose to hurt communities.” @Miatsf absolutely destroys Kate Andrews and a Tory…
RT @NesrineMalik: ‘It is not talent but access to the right people, the adventurism of those with nothing to lose, the financial comfort th…
RT @NLawrenceOBE: We always mark the birthday of our son Stephen. We will never forget him. I also remember others suffering the ongoing gr…
RT @hoperoadpublish: We've got that #FridayFeeling, as the weekend is prime book reading time! Looking for a great diverse read? #TheNowh
© Gary Younge. All Rights reserved, site built with tlc