Children, Young People and Families

Titles on our Children, Young People and Families list range from bestselling textbooks, including the Open University Childhood series, critical monographs such as those in the international Sociology of Children and Families series and the Families, Relationships and Societies journal.  

Long-established, this interdisciplinary list brings together work across Childhood Studies, Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology. It supports students in their successful study, challenges current policy and practice and offers practical guidance to those working with children and young people in often difficult circumstances.

Children, Young People and Families

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Households are sites where a progressive politics of change towards sustainability can be nourished. Efforts to do so, however, must attend to gender dynamics. Our aim is to improve our understanding of how gender and sustainability intersect at the household level and engage with progressive politics in this context. To do so, we present a collaborative autoethnography focused on gender and sustainability in our household covering five years during which we experienced multiple lifecourse transitions. Building on this we answer two questions. First, how does the encounter between personal experiences and scholarship shape conceptual refinement? Second, how do personal experiences and scholarship combine to shape what we understand as progressive politics? This article not only advances the understanding of gender and sustainability in households and progressive politics in this context but also shows that collaborative autoethnography offers a valuable methodological toolkit for advancing research towards progressive politics.

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This concluding chapter discusses where sports fit in overall crime prevention strategies and whether further investments in sport-based crime prevention programmes are justified. Popular interest in such programmes and limited empirical evidence on their impacts underscore the need for further research. Although useful knowledge exists about what can increase the positive development aspects of a sport-based programme, it remains very difficult to know for whom sport-based crime prevention interventions are most effective, and what they should consist of so as to improve their effectiveness in preventing crime or violence. There is a critical need for substantial and rigorous evaluations. Unfortunately, crime prevention programmes are rarely evaluated, and many existing evaluations are methodologically weak and overly simplistic in their theorizing about the causes of youth crime. Future research should refine existing categorizations of sport-based programmes and attempt to quantify the specific outcomes attributable to sport participation among other related crime prevention outcomes observed in multi-component sport-based programmes.

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This chapter identifies some emerging good practices in youth crime prevention through sports and addresses the question of what communities and crime prevention proponents can do to maximize their investments in sport-based programmes from the points of view of peace, public safety, and crime prevention. A consensus is emerging around programme practices and characteristics that are most likely to yield substantial positive youth development outcomes. Some of these include clearly articulating crime prevention objectives and programme rationale, considering the local context, interests, and cultural background of the young people they seek to influence, being responsive to the needs of participants, and accounting for gender and cultural factors that might relate to the programme. Key factors associated with sustaining interventions over time and ensuring that programme delivery is well planned are also reviewed. The chapter concludes by discussing the importance of: interagency cooperation and community partnerships; engagement of parents, relatives, and other significant adults; encouragement of positive peer interactions; and finding the right coaches and facilitators to promote youth development.

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This chapter provides an overview of the connections between sport-based programming and crime prevention. Many sport-based youth programmes purport to prevent youth crime or youth involvement in gangs. Sports stand with several other activities (for example, education, mentoring, religious teaching, and volunteering) that may spur positive social development among children and youth. Crime prevention strategies have tried to build on the popularity and benefits of sports activities to promote youth development and to influence risk and resiliency factors associated with criminal involvement. Various sport-based crime prevention programmes have been implemented but very few of them have been subjected to a rigorous evaluation. When research has been done, the relationship between these programmes and desistance from crime was difficult to disentangle. In addition to identifying the problem to be addressed, this chapter questions how much is known about the phenomenon because of lack of theorizing and rigorous research in the area.

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This chapter focuses on the role of coaches and the impact of coaching practices on youth development. Research thus far emphasizes the crucial importance of coaches and facilitators in fostering positive youth development outcomes. There is also currently great interest as to how coaches and programme facilitators might improve their current practices. While it seems obvious that coaches and other programme facilitators have unique opportunities to influence youth, there is not yet a consensus on exactly what differentiates effective from ineffective coaches. Factors such as leadership, expertise, motivation, education, and experience are often cited, together with an ability to form meaningful relationships with youth. Another suggestion is that coaches and facilitators could encourage positive youth development by incorporating teaching life skills in sports programmes. Unfortunately, many current coaches do not have the knowledge, skills, or training to do this. There follows a discussion of effective coaching strategies and leadership style to encouraging development. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the key findings of recent research on the role and practices of sport coaches, facilitators, and volunteers involved in sport-based positive development programmes.

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This chapter reviews attempts to prevent crime at the primary level. The primary level of crime prevention refers to efforts involving interventions that address social, environmental, or situational conditions associated with various criminal activities. There are a variety of explanations as to why sport participation may give rise to these positive outcomes. Some proponents believe that participation in sports builds character and encourages moral development. Others suggest that sports provide individuals with positive contacts, role models, and mentors who model positive behaviour and help discourage participation in crime. Another popular explanation is that sports act as a diversion from criminal activities. Some also believe that sports participation encourages positive developmental outcomes and the development of important life skills. Finally, some argue that crime prevention often presupposes inclusion and social cohesion, thus the idea that sport can play a unique role in this respect by generating social capital and by helping mobilize communities and promote solidarity. This chapter concludes with a discussion of access and exclusion from sports participation. This problem is reflected in the fact that lower-socio-economic populations tend to have lower rates of sport participation.

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This chapter reviews crime prevention efforts at the secondary level and focuses on interventions that target individuals or groups known or assumed to be at risk of criminal involvement. The chapter opens with a discussion of the underlying foundations of risk-based programming. There are several problems with this approach, including its tendency to ignore structural factors and risks around social exclusion, as well as the stigmatization associated with being labelled as a ‘youth at risk’. The chapter then shifts to a discussion of the positive youth development approach, an approach that regards youth as a resource to be developed rather than a problem to be solved. Next, some consideration is given to how sports may be used as a ‘hook’ to engage youth in other prosocial activities, and how the type of sport may affect the outcome.

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This chapter reviews attempts to prevent crime at the tertiary level. The tertiary level of crime prevention entails a range of interventions within or outside the criminal justice system to prevent individuals already engaged in criminal activity from reoffending and encouraging them to desist from crime and successfully reintegrating into society. This chapter offers a discussion of the notion of desistance and the research associated with this area and reviews programmes administered in both correctional and community settings (for example, with gang-involved youth). This is followed by a discussion of a more system-wide programme that was instituted in Thailand, known as the Bounce Be Good Sport Club. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the impact these programmes have on social reintegration and the implications these findings have for creating and revising other programmes.

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This chapter presents an attempt to conceptualize the links between criminological theory and sport-based crime prevention programmes. The focus here is on understanding how participation in sport-based prevention programmes at the community level may affect the likelihood that the targeted youth will become or continue to be involved with criminal activities or criminal groups. Efforts are made to clarify existing concepts and connect them to the theories commonly used to understand youth crime and desistance from crime. The chapter also attempts to articulate a theory of change, a prerequisite to forming a cogent programme logic model and to conducting programme evaluations. The theory incorporates key concepts based on individual differences and personality development and then attempts to address social-psychological concerns identified by desistance and social support theories.

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An Evaluation of Sport-Based Programmes and Their Effectiveness
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Sports-based crime prevention programmes are becoming increasingly popular world-wide but until now there has been very little research on the effectiveness of such approaches.

Bringing together authoritative evidence from existing programmes, the authors identify and analyse emerging successful practices. Covering mentoring and coaching, particularly as they relate to Positive Youth Development (PYD) programmes, the authors explore how the development of core life skills can improve individual resilience and decrease the risk of criminal involvement. The book conceptualizes the links between criminological theory and PYD and gives recommendations for future policy and practice.

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