Young Leaders analysed the findings of their research into children and young people's experiences of the welfare state. With support and inspiration from a Sounding Board of adults, they came up with a set of 'golden rules' for a new welfare state that puts children's and young people's needs at its heart.

Values Approaches

Citizenship - we all have rights and entitlements

Shift: from punishment to dignity, from scarcity to universality

Interdependence - between each other and between services Communities in the lead
Equity and equality Connectivity between people and decision-makers
Lived experiences are mutually valid Holistic approach to individual needs
Social justice Listen and take action / enable others to act
Love and kindness Prevention is better than cure
Neighbourliness and mutual aid Collective responsibility

Below are some of the Young Leaders' proposals for each 'branch' of the welfare state. The team had many more thoughts that we can't do justice to on a static webpage, and they are also very keen for these proposals to start a live dialogue that develops by taking on board other young people's opinions, and informs existing campaigns for change. We hope the ideas below inspire you to think about how they could look in practice, what similar practice might already be happening and how we could all work together to bring about the local and national conditions to make them a reality!


You'll notice some common themes here, as well as the values and approaches above: 

Agency - Everyone in the community can participate, both to give and receive support, and so barriers are broken down between age groups; between 'service users' and 'service providers'; and between decision-makers and those affected by decisions. There are lots of opportunities for everyone to work together and treat each other as equals.

Place - Support is local, and institutions are well-connected within each place so data can be shared, systems are transparent and citizens can feel a sense of belonging throughout their communities. Because they're involved in running their community hub, or choosing the programme for courses at the local school, people don't simply feel that they're consuming services - they're creating their environment. 

Trust - All citizens are considered experts in their own lives, and trusted to know what's best for them. Communities are trusted to shape their local systems, which are transparent and accountable to everyone. There is no divide between 'experts' with power and ordinary people who are passive recipients of services. This helps support to be provided on an equitable basis, not simply a one-size-fits-all basis.


Vision for health

"Community Health Hubs"

One person with medical training who’s not necessarily a specialist but who gets to know you really well and provides a more personal approach

  • Staffed by a nurse and Community Health Workers - a new, less formal role local people could take on
  • Home visits, food and exercise classes, mental health support
  • Young people involved through service design and volunteering

What difference does it make?

  • People in need can get help quickly, locally, from people who understand them, especially young carers 
  • Everyone is involved - so stigma is removed
  • "Hubs" connect all organisations and information - no siloes, no repetition, no inconsistency, especially for those with disabilities


Vision for neighbourhoods

"Growth spaces" that include everyone

There’s a need for playgrounds, activity centres. Environmental changes would lead to social changes e.g. chances to socialise, trust, and connect

  • "Growth spaces" are community hubs run by the local people, providing advice, support, conversations and decision-making
  • Funding for inclusive spaces
  • Young people involved at all levels of local democracy
  • Links between schools and community
  • "Neighbourhood Day" once a year for everyone in the community to come together

What difference does it make?

  • Children and young people feel safe, heard, respected and included
  • Intergenerational relationships are good
  • People feel local ownership and agency - they are not just consumers on a high street


Vision for education

Schools at the heart of the community

Schools shouldn’t see themselves as a separate institute to society. We need to involve the community in working closely with schools to give them support

  • School buildings are hubs for educational activities for - and by - all generations in the area, seven days a week
  • Broad, flexible curriculum driven by what young people want to do
  • Teachers are trained in diversity and inclusion
  • Wellbeing runs throughout
  • "Community Day" once a week

What difference does it make?

  • All young people develop according to their individual needs and interests
  • Young people feel agency and belonging in their communities
  • No one is excluded from learning by cost or prejudice


Vision for social security

Universal Basic Income and a holistic support system

It should be a nation wide equivalent of a family providing emotional, social and financial help

  • Everyone receives an income to cover their basic needs
  • Housing and disability support remain separate
  • Person-centred guidance including careers for young people 
  • Support looks at where people want to go, not keeping them where they are

What difference does it make?

  • No family lives in poverty and can plan for the future 
  • There is no stigma associated with receiving state support
  • Everyone’s rights as equal citizens are respected
  • Young people feel a sense of purpose, not dependency


Vision for housing

Welcome to Jigsawville, where housing is a human right

If housing worked for wheelchair users there would be open plan houses with automatic doors, Alexa to help control the lights and TV, close the curtains

  • Dense social housing sites that are co-produced and community owned
  • Sites include health hubs, school, nursery and public parks
  • Residents’ council responsive to need
  • "The Haven" gives young people housing advice and much more
  • Second and third home ownership is disincentivised and this housing stock can be redistributed

What difference does it make?

  • Each house is a piece of the jigsaw - a different shape according to the family’s needs, but fitting into a big diverse picture
  • Amenities are nearby so journeys are safer 
  • Families have power over their homes - whether they are owners or not
  • Young people have support to live independently


Go back to the main ChildFair State page to find out about other aspects of the Inquiry, or click straight through to: