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by administrator @, Wednesday, November 25, 2009, 10:21

Nearly two-thirds of young people at Centrepoint had to leave home because of arguments and a breakdown in relationships (58%, 2008-09) - something that is likely to increase with rising unemployment and the added strain on families.

Over half the young people Centrepoint works with have little or no contact with their family. Over a third said they are not interested in improving relations with their families. Therefore, early support for the whole family, rather than focusing on the teenager or parent as a problem, is essential if levels of family breakdown and youth homelessness are to be reduced.

Centrepoint welcomes government support to help at-risk families, but believes such an approach should be available to help all families, to prevent disputes and problems reaching crisis point when a young person moves out of home and communication is cut-off.

However, Centrepoint's research revealed that a young person does not have to be living in the family home to enjoy close and supportive family relationships. This makes a clear distinction between trying to keep a young person in the 'family home' and improving 'family life'. For many, family relationships begin to heal and grow once the young person has moved out. Some young people such as care-leavers and refugees are not able to be reunited with their families, but mentors and friendships can be supported to fill that void.

Centrepoint Chief Executive, Seyi Obakin said: "Making the transition to adulthood is challenging for some young people. Equally, parenting teenagers can prove difficult for some adults, creating conflict in the family home. Yet too many families are not getting the support they need, when they need it.

"By the time a family conflict reaches crisis point, a focus on keeping young people at home is not necessarily the answer. The best remedy is early intervention, shifting the focus from the young person as the problem to supporting the family as the solution, including extended families."


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